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.

Quick GuideEating Disorders: Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating

Eating Disorders: Anorexia, Bulimia, Binge Eating

How do health-care professionals diagnose binge eating disorder?

As is true with virtually any mental-health diagnosis, there is no one test that definitively indicates that someone has binge eating disorder. Therefore, health-care professionals assess this disorder by gathering comprehensive medical, family, and mental-health information. The health-care professional will also either conduct a physical examination or ask that the individual's primary-care doctor perform one. The medical assessment will usually include lab tests to evaluate the person's general health and to explore whether or not the person has a medical condition that has what appear to be mental-health symptoms.

In asking questions about psychological symptoms, mental-health professionals are often exploring if the individual suffers from symptoms that meet diagnostic criteria for binge eating disorder or another eating disorder but also depression and/or mania, anxiety, substance abuse, hallucinations or delusions, as well as some behavioral disorders. People with binge eating disorder may seem to eat compulsively, having symptoms in common with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Health-care professionals may provide the people they evaluate with a quiz or self-test as a screening tool for binge eating disorder and other eating disorders. Since some of the symptoms of binge eating disorder can also occur with other conditions, the mental-health screening is designed to determine if the individual suffers from any emotional problem. In order to assess the person's current emotional state, health-care professionals conduct a mental-status examination, as well.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/2/2016

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