- Do you feel out of control when you eat?
- Do you obsess about food?
- Do you feel that you can’t stop when you start eating?
- Do you think about what to eat all the time?
- Do you overeat in the privacy of your home rather than in public?
- Do you feel sick, ashamed, or disgusted when you stop eating?
- Does eating help you to escape, to forget your worries, to comfort yourself?
If you answer yes to these questions and you would like to address these issues of overeating, binges, and obsessing about food, don’t suffer any longer – ask for help.
Many of us overeat from time to time during holidays, sometimes mindlessly finishing a bag of chips or lollies – but when can we call it a binge eating disorder? At what point does overeating become a disorder? The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (5th Edition) characterises Binge Eating Disorder based on five distinct criteria.
- Consumption of food within a period of time is more than most people would eat in the same time period
- Immediately afterwards you might feel:
- Eating more rapidly than usual
- Eating until uncomfortably full
- Eating large amounts of food when not physically full
- Eating alone because of being embarrassed about how much one is eating
- Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed or very guilty afterwards
So, if three or more of these aspects are present, then criterion two is fulfilled. However, if only one or two aspects are present, then the criterion has not been fulfilled.
- Binge eating episodes are characterised by feelings of depression, disgust, shame, guilt, or other negative feelings.
- It happens at least once a week for at least three months. The mild range includes 1-3 episodes per week, the moderate range includes 4-7 times per week, and the severe range includes 8-13 episodes. If there are 14 or more episodes in a week, then the case is considered extreme.
- This criterion relates to behaviour that is NOT considered binge eating disorder. It is fulfilled if the overeating is not associated with the recurrent use of inappropriate compensatory behaviour to make up for or reverse the effects of the episode (such as bulimia, where binging is followed by purging or the use of laxatives).
The main trigger of binge eating disorder is a negative effect. Other triggers can include dietary restraint, negative feelings related to body weight, body shape, or food, and boredom. Negative self-evaluation and dysphoria are often the delayed consequences.
What Is Binge Eating Disorder – Summary
Based on these five criteria, it’s much easier to identify what is Binge Eating Disorder and what is simply overeating. If you recognise the signs and think you or someone you know may be suffering from the condition, then the next step is to seek medical help. Get in touch if you would like to book a session to address issues associated with your binge eating.
If you’d like additional support along the way, then our online course “Beat the Binge” will teach you practical strategies for addressing and dealing with overeating.
If you would like to purchase our book “Beat the Binge”, you can purchase it here.