Binge Eating Disorder
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What is Binge Eating Disorder?
Binge eating disorder is an eating disorder characterized by frequent episodes of excess food consumption. The disorder differs from common (and normal) over-eating in that the sufferer often feels that their eating is out of control and that they are powerless to stop the compulsion to eat. They may feel guilty about their eating, and they may want to stop. The symptoms have a significant negative impact both on the physical health of the sufferer and on their mental state.
Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder
Binge eating disorder, while not at all a new problem, was recently officially recognized as a mental disorder in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders [The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is used by mental health professionals to diagnose mental disorders. The latest edition, the DSM-5, was published in 2013.] Symptoms of diagnosable binge eating disorder include:
- Episodes of binge eating that fit at least three of these descriptions:
- The sufferer eats at a faster pace than normal.
- The sufferer eats until he or she is over-full and physically uncomfortable.
- The sufferer eats excessively even when he or she doesn’t feel hungry.
- The sufferer is embarrassed by the binge eating and often eats alone to hide it.
- The sufferer feels guilty, sad, or disgusted with him or herself after the episode.
- Frequent episodes of binge eating. The times when the sufferer eats excessively and compulsively happens more than once and the episodes occur at least once a week over a period of at least three months.
- Episodes cause disruption and distress. Binge eating has a negative impact on the sufferer’s ability to function normally and happily.
- Symptoms of other eating disorders are absent. Sufferers of binge eating disorders don’t compensate for binges by vomiting, exercising compulsively, or taking laxatives, as is common in other eating disorders.
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