Binge Eating Disorder

  • Medical Author:
    Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD

    Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Binge Eating Disorder Signs

Quick GuideEating Disorders: Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating

Eating Disorders: Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating

What is binge eating disorder?

Binge eating disorder is a mental-health condition that is characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating without efforts on the part of affected individuals to compensate by undoing the binge episodes. Examples of such undoing behaviors include purging food by inducing vomiting, excessively exercising, and/or inappropriately using medications like laxatives or diet pills. This illness was generally described by mental-health professionals under the diagnosis of eating disorder, not otherwise specified rather than as its own separate entity, but the most recent revision of the widely accepted diagnostic manual used by mental-health professionals has included binge eating disorder as a separate diagnosis.

Statistics about binge eating disorder indicate that this condition is the most common of all eating disorders, affecting about 3.5% of women and 2% of men over the course of a lifetime. As with other eating disorders, there tends to be no significant difference the age at which males and females develop binge eating disorder. Males with eating disorders like binge eating disorder tend to have a much higher body mass index (BMI) and are more likely to also suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) compared to males of similar age without the disorder. Females with eating disorders like binge eating disorders are at increased risk for also having celiac disease and diabetes.

It is apparently quite common in individuals who seek treatment for obesity in weight-loss programs that are affiliated with a hospital. About one-third of individuals with this condition are males. Most develop the disorder during adolescence or early adulthood, primarily in early adulthood. There seems to be no difference in the incidence of binge eating disorder among ethnic groups.

Binge eating disorder can have a significant impact on the health of those who suffer from it. Specifically, about 65% of people with binge eating disorder are obese (20% overweight or more), with even more being generally overweight. Individuals who develop binge eating disorder are at higher risk of also having another psychiatric illness, like depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. Women with this illness tend to suffer from a negative body image, whereas men are more likely develop a substance-use disorder. Other important facts about binge eating disorder include its tendency to last for more than 14 years, with only 7% resolving after the first year of having the illness. When compared to other eating disorders like bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa, which each tend to last less than six years, binge eating disorder has more of a chronic course.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/2/2016

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Newsletters

Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

VIEW PATIENT COMMENTS
  • Binge Eating Disorder - Personal Experience

    Please share your personal or family's experience with binge eating disorder.

    Post View 1 Comment
  • Binge Eating Disorder - Signs and Symptoms

    What were the signs of a binge eating disorder in a friend or relative?

    Post
  • Binge Eating Disorder - Treatment

    What types of treatment did you or a relative receive for a binge eating disorder?

    Post
  • Binge Eating Disorder - Causes and Risk Factors

    Were you, a friend, or relative at risk for developing a binge eating disorder? Please share your story.

    Post

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors