Binge-Eating Disorder

Detailed Diagnostic Criteria

Detailed diagnostic criteria are taken from the Diagnostic Statistical Manual, 4th edn. (DSM-IV).

  1. Recurrent episodes of binge eating. An episode of binge eating is characterized by both (1) Eating, in a discrete period of time, a large amount of food that is larger than most people would eat in a similar period of time and circumstance and (2) A sense of lack of control over eating during the episode
  2. The binge eating episodes are associated with at least three of the following:
    1. Eating much more rapidly than normal
    2. Eating until feeling uncomfortably full
    3. Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry
    4. Eating alone because of being embarrassed by how much one is eating
    5. Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or feeling very guilty after overeating
  3. Marked distress regarding binge eating.
  4. Binge eating occurs at least 2 days a week for 6 months.
  5. The binge eating is not associated with the regular use of inappropriate compensatory behaviors (eg, purging, fasting, excessive exercise) and does not occur exclusively during the course of anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa.

Prevalence of Eating Disorders

 According to Keel (2005) and Wilson, Grilo & Vitousek (2007), the prevalence of eating disorders is as follows:

  • 3 % of adults
  • Higher in obese persons

Typical Course of Eating Disorders

Keel (2005), Steinhausen (2002) and Wilson, Grilo & Vitousek (2007) describe the typical onset and course of eating disorders:

  • Onset: usually either childhood or late adolescence/early adulthood
  • Individuals who seek treatment are typically older than anorexia or bulimia patients
  • Individuals tend to be significantly overweight and obese