It’s very important to note that though a person might not meet all of the below diagnostic and qualitative criteria, they might still present with a serious medical illness. It is strongly recommended that a person seek help as soon as a problem is suspected.
What Your Loved One Might Be Experiencing
While it is alarming and somewhat confusing to watch someone you respect and care about engage in behaviors that are unsafe, it helps to consider where they are coming from. A person with binge eating disorder may be experiencing the following:
- A desire to stop their behaviors, but a feeling of helplessness in doing so
- Mental obsession with food
- Feelings of fear of panic when confronted with a situation that involves eating
- Loneliness from isolating
- A disconnection from the severity of the problem
Binge Eating Disorder Criteria
Binge eating disorder is medical disorder characterized by a person’s inability to control recurrent binge episodes.
To be diagnosed with binge eating disorder according to the DSM-5, both of the following criteria must be met:
- Recurrent episodes of binge eating. An episode of binge eating is characterized by both of the following:
- The binge eating episodes are associated with three (or more) of the following:
- 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 behaviors (e.g., purging) as in bulimia nervosa and does not occur exclusively during the course of bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa.
What You Might Notice
- Rapid pace of eating
- Reluctance to eat in front of others
- Food hoarding