Binge Eating Disorder was only recently recognized as an “official” medical disorder, appearing with its diagnostic code for the first time in 2014. Before that, it was included as one of the many “Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified.”

Do You Have a Binge Eating Disorder?

The Diagnosis of Binge Eating Disorder is given based on the characteristics described in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). These include:

  • “Recurrent episodes of binge eating,” meaning an amount larger than “most people would eat during a similar period and under similar circumstances.” It is not a specific amount, but rather an amount that appears and feels abnormal to the individual. It is not the same as enjoying a large meal or stuffing yourself once a year at Thanksgiving. It is an uncomfortable or even painful amount of food or an amount that was based finishing all of the food available rather than satisfying hunger.
  • Each “episode” of binge eating also includes “a sense of lack of control,” such as the feeling of being unable to stop or slow down until the episode is over or almost over.
  • Other qualities of a binge episode include abnormally rapid eating, eating until uncomfortably full, eating when not physically hungry, eating alone due to embarrassment, and feeling disgusted, depressed, or very guilty afterward.
  • In addition to the feelings described above, the diagnosis of Binge Eating Disorder requires the individual to be distressed about the binge eating behavior. In other words, this person is not happily overeating just for enjoyment. They are experiencing “marked distress.”

There is a criterion that binge eating occurs repeatedly. However, there are more and less severe versions of the diagnosis based on the frequency of episodes and the length of time they have been happening.

Treatment for Binge Eating Disorder

Unfortunately, very few primary care doctors have been trained to ask questions about eating. So you may receive excellent medical care for other conditions but none for your Binge Eating Disorder. There are no blood tests or physical exams that can diagnose Binge Eating Disorder – it is solely based on the criteria above.

If you have any symptoms of an eating disorder, seek medical help as soon as possible. The binge-eating disorder usually doesn’t get better by itself. It may get worse if left untreated.

Talk to your primary care doctor or a mental health provider about your binge-eating symptoms and feelings. If you’re reluctant to seek treatment, talk to someone you trust about what you’re going through. A friend or loved one, teacher or faith leader can help you take the first steps to successful treatment of binge-eating disorder.

Binge Eating Disorder Help

If you think you have Binge Eating Disorder or any other eating concern, you are welcome to call The Meadows Ranch. We know that recovery from an eating disorder is possible because it’s happening here every day. For additional information, please call to speak to an Intake Coordinator at 866-390-5100 or complete the form below and we will contact you with the information you need.