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