Jennifer is a 2nd grade teacher who describes her relationship with food as “a rollercoaster.” Her binges are often the result of job-related stress.
Binge eating disorder (B.E.D.):
Recurring episodes (on average, at least once weekly for 3 months) of consuming a large amount of food in a short period of time, compared to what others might eat, with episodes characterized by experiencing a lack of control and significant distress regarding binge eating, among other criteria1
B.E.D. is different from bulimia nervosa
B.E.D. is not associated with compensatory behaviors like purging or excessive exercise, or with dietary restriction, though frequent dieting may be reported1
B.E.D. is different from overeating
While overeating is a challenge for many Americans, recurrent binge eating is much less common, far more severe, and is associated with significant physical and psychological problems2
B.E.D. is different from obesity
B.E.D. can occur in normal-weight, overweight, and obese adults*3
Although B.E.D. can be associated with increased weight, the majority of adults
with B.E.D. are not obese†: 55% are normal-weight or overweight,
45% are obese3
*Data (based on Version 3.0 of the World Health Organization Composite International Diagnostic Interview and DSM-IV® criteria) from an eating disorder–assessed subsample (n=2,980) of the National Comorbidity Survey Replication, a nationally representative face-to-face household survey of English-speaking adults aged ≥18 years.3
†Current BMI in adults with 12-month prevalence of B.E.D. among an eating disorder–assessed subsample of the National Comorbidity Survey Replication, a nationally representative face-to-face household survey of English-speaking adults aged ≥18 years.3
Compared with weight-matched obese adults without B.E.D., obese adults with B.E.D. eat more calories in studies of how
people eat and show1:
- More functional impairment
- Greater self-reported distress
- Impaired quality of life
- More coexisting psychiatric conditions
Adult patients with B.E.D. often have coexisting comorbid disorders such as bipolar disorders, depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, and, to a lesser extent, substance use disorders1
As part of a complete evaluation of adult patients with B.E.D., clinicians should consider these comorbid conditions that commonly occur for differential diagnosis.
B.E.D. is associated with significant psychiatric comorbidity that is comparable to bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa1
Lifetime comorbidity (DSM-IV® Criteria) in adults with B.E.D.‡3
comorbid psychiatric or
substance use disorder
comorbid psychiatric or
substance use disorders
‡Data from a random subsample of respondents (n=1,139-2,980) from an eating disorder–assessed subsample of the National Comorbidity Survey Replication, a nationally representative face-to-face household survey of English-speaking adults aged ≥18 years.3
Common triggers of binge eating
episodes (as noted in DSM-5®)1
Negative affect most commonly precedes a bingeing episode.
Other triggers include:
Feeling bad about body weight, body shape, and food
- American Psychiatric Association. Binge-eating disorder. In: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 5th ed. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Association; 2013:350-353.
- American Psychiatric Association. DSM-5 Fact Sheet. Feeding and eating disorders. www.dsm5.org/documents/eating%20disorders%20fact%20sheet.pdf. Accessed November 13, 2015.
- Hudson JI, Hiripi E, Pope HG Jr, Kessler RC. [Published correction appears in Biol Psychiatry. 2012;72(2):164]. Biol Psychiatry. 2007;61(3):348-358.