Binge-Eating Disorder

There is one primary feature in binge eating disorder, which is recurrent binge eating. This occurs in the absence of the extreme weight-control behavior seen in bulimia nervosa (i.e. strict dieting, self-induced vomiting, excessive exercising, laxative or diuretic misuse). The eating behaviours of people with binge-eating disorders are typically characterised by a general tendency to overeat, upon which binge eating is superimposed. Therefore, many people with this disorder are overweight or obese. The binge eating is associated with marked distress and is usually accompanied by shame and self-criticism.

Binge-eating disorder affects a broader range of people than anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. One third of sufferers are male and the age range stretches from teens to middle age. The disorder tends to have a phasic course in which there are periods characterised by recurrent episodes of binge eating, and others without. These phases may last months or even years.