People suffering with binge eating disorder say they are often stigmatized and the disease is misunderstood. Binge eating disorder is not to be confused with occasional overeating. We are not talking about eating way too much at Thanksgiving or at a friend’s birthday party. Everyone does this from time to time. Binge Eating Disorder is listed in the DSM-5
. The disorder has even been given its own acronym, BED.
Is BED the Same as Binging and Purging?
What makes BED different from occasional overeating are the emotions and habits that go along with the disease. Feelings of shame and/or guilt or distress following the binge episode. A binge eater does not compensate by purging. This disorder is severe and can be life-threatening. It’s important to understand that it is also treatable. Common aspects of BED can include functional impairment, the risk of suicide and a high frequency of other mental disorders. BED
is the most common eating disorder in the U.S.
BED Symptoms and Diagnostic Criteria
According the the National Eating Disorders Association, the following is a list of BED’s symptoms
and diagnostic criteria. The DSM-5, published in 2013, lists the diagnostic criteria for binge eating disorder: 1. Recurrent episodes of binge eating. An episode of binge eating is characterized by both of the following: • Eating, in a discrete period of time (e.g., within any 2-hour period), an amount of food that is definitely larger than what most people would eat in a similar period of time under similar circumstances. • A sense of lack of control over eating during the episode (e.g., a feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating). 2. The binge eating episodes are associated with three (or more) of the following: • Eating much more rapidly than normal. • Eating until feeling uncomfortably full. • Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry. • Eating alone because of feeling embarrassed by how much one is eating. • Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilty afterward. 3. Marked distress regarding binge eating is present. 4. The binge eating occurs, on average, at least once a week for 3 months. 5. The binge eating is not associated with the recurrent use of inappropriate compensatory behaviors (e.g., purging) as in bulimia nervosa and does not occur exclusively during the course of bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa. People with BED may also suffer some of the behavioral, emotional and physical characteristics listed below. Not every person with binge eating disorders will have all the possible characteristics. And the reverse is also true, the not every person will have BED if they display these listed characteristics. • Experiencing feelings of anger, anxiety, worthlessness, or shame preceding binges. Initiating the binge is a means of relieving tension or numbing negative feelings. • Co-occurring conditions such as depression may be present. Those with BED may also experience social isolation, moodiness, and irritability. • Feeling disgust about one’s body size. Those with BED may have been teased about their body while growing up. • Avoiding conflict; trying to “keep the peace.” Certain thought patterns and personality types are associated with binge eating disorder. These include: • Rigid and inflexible “all or nothing” thinking • A strong need to be in control • Difficulty expressing feelings and needs • Perfectionistic tendencies • Working hard to please others
Treatment for BED
Treatment for this disorder include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) and pharmacotherapy which is the use of prescribed drugs. Since BED is included in DSM-5 listings, your insurance may cover some of the cost. You can verify with your insurance company. If you are suffering with what you believe is binge eating disorder, consult with a trained medical professional and an eating disorder specialist. You can discuss your course of action that will treat and/or eliminate your suffering. Don’t be frightened and seek the help.