Binge-eating disorder is officially diagnosed when an individual describes a history of two or more weekly binges occurring over a period of at least six months. However, a doctor may diagnose based on patient observations when appropriate. A binge is characterized by the rapid consumption of food beyond the point of satiety or fullness. Feelings of disgust and lack of control are usually present during and after binge-eating episodes, and often lead a person to binge alone. The occurrence of these factors on a regular or semi-regular basis may result in a diagnosis of binge-eating disorder. Purging is not a characteristic of binge-eating disorder.
A Answers (4)
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI) answered
Marjorie Nolan Cohn, Nutrition & Dietetics, answered on behalf of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
A licensed therapist, or other medical professional, such as a medical doctor or psychiatrist, must diagnose any eating disorder. Only after a full evaluation assessment is conducted, and based on criteria reported by the patient as well as other medical conditions outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) can a formal diagnosis be made. There are several different eating disorder diagnoses, Anorexia Nervosa (AN), Bulimia Nervosa (BN), and Eating Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS). Binge Eating Disorder (BED) currently does not have its own diagnosis outlined in the DSM. However, in the next addition of the DSM set to be published in 2013 Binge Eating Disorder (BED) will be its own diagnosis. Until the next edition of the DSM is released BED is under the umbrella of EDNOS diagnosis. The criteria for BED are as follows:
Binge Eating Disorder
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 most people would eat in a similar period of time under similar circumstances
- A sense of lack of control over eating during the episode (for example, a feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating)
The binge-eating episodes are associated with 3 (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 after overeating
Marked distress regarding binge eating is present.
The binge eating occurs, on average, at least once a week for 3 months.
The binge eating is not associated with the recurrent use of inappropriate compensatory behavior and does not occur exclusively during the course Bulimia Nervosa or Anorexia Nervosa.
Doctors diagnose binge eating disorder by doing a physical exam and asking questions about your medical history and eating habits. Your doctor also might do a mental health assessment, which is an evaluation of your emotions and how well you think, reason and remember.
Binge eating disorder often is associated with being overweight. Your doctor might use a tool called the body mass index (BMI) to look at how much you weigh compared with your height.
© Healthwise, Incorporated.
Katie Rickel, PhD, Psychology, answered
Psychologist Dr. Katie Rickel discusses how binge-eating disorder is diagnosed. Watch Dr. Rickel's video for tips and information on mental health and eating behaviors.