Binge-eating Disorder

Binge-eating disorder is similar to bulimia nervosa, without any self-induced methods of preventing weight gain, so the person is likely to have fluctuating weight and will tend to be overweight.

Binge-eating disorder is the only disorder in the category EDNOS (Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified) which is defined in the clinical manual DSM-IV.

Diagnostic criteria for binge-eating disorder:

A. Recurrent episodes of binge eating. An episode is characterised by:

  • Eating a larger amount of food than normal during a short period of time (within two hours).
  • Feeling a lack of control over eating during the binge episode.

Binge-eating episodes are associated with three or more of the following:

  • Eating until feeling uncomfortably full.
  • Eating large amounts of food when not physically hungry.
  • Eating much more rapidly than normal.
  • Eating alone or in secret.
  • Feeling disgusted, depressed or guilty after overeating

C. Marked distress regarding binge-eating is present.

D. Binge-eating occurs, on average, at least two days a week for six months.

E. The binge-eating is not associated with the regular use of inappropriate compensatory behaviour (i.e. purging, excessive exercise, etc.).

Some warning signs:

  • Rapid weight gain or obesity
  • Constant weight fluctuations
  • Frequently eats an abnormal amount of food in a short period of time
  • Does not use methods to purge food
  • Eats rapidly (may swallow without chewing)
  • Feels a lack of control over eating (i.e. unable to stop)
  • Eating alone, “secretive eating habits”, hiding food etc.
  • Eating late at night
  • Eating when not hungry
  • Disgust and shame with self after overeating
  • Hoarding food (especially high calorie/junk food)
  • Coping with emotional and psychological states by eating
  • Eating large amounts of food without being hungry
  • Consuming food to the point of being uncomfortable
  • Attributes successes and failures to weight
  • Avoids social situations especially those involving food
  • Depressed or anxious moods