Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder is marked by recurrent episodes of loss of control— or binge—eating. In contrast to bulimia nervosa, individuals with binge eating disorder do not utilize regular compensatory behaviors (such as self-induced vomiting). Binge eating disorder affects approximately one to four percent of the population, is as common in males and females and across the age-spectrum, and is frequently associated with obesity.

Binge eating is associated with an array of behaviors, including:

  • Feeling a loss of control in the context of eating
  • eating very rapidly
  • eating large amounts of food when not hungry
  • eating beyond comfort
  • eating alone due to shame and embarrassment

DSM-5 requires binge-eating to be present at least once a week for 3 months and at least three of the above symptoms to reach threshold for a full diagnosis.

Binge eating disorder can also be associated with psychological problems such as depression.

There are a variety of effective treatments for binge eating disorder, including cognitive-behavioral therapy and pharmacological treatment. These interventions help reduce or eliminate binge eating, but often, additional techniques, such as those found in the LEARN® or Diabetes Prevention Programs, are necessary to produce desired weight loss.