What’s the most common eating disorder in the United States? No, it’s not Anorexia or Bulimia– it’s Binge Eating Disorder (BED), the newest addition to the DSM-5.
BED is a potentially life-threatening condition characterized by recurrent episodes of eating large quantities of food over a short period of time, often to the point of discomfort. Though Bulimia is often associated with binging periods, Binge Eating Disorders do not include regular use of unhealthy compensatory measures like purging or excessive exercise. Other symptoms of BED include:
- Feeling loss of control during binge
- Hidden or secretive eating habits
- Feelings of shame, distress, or guilt surrounding eating habits
- Preoccupation with eating habits including extreme dieting
- Body image issues caused by binge eating habits
Binge Eating Disorders affect 2.8 percent of American adults in their lifetime. Approximately half the risk of developing a Binge Eating Disorder is genetic. More than half of those affected also have a comorbid anxiety disorder. Additionally, approximately ten percent of people living with Binge Eating Disorders also experience a co-occurring substance abuse disorder, most commonly alcohol use disorder.
Identifying Binge Eating Disorder
Despite being the most common eating disorder in America, it can be difficult to identify Binge Eating Disorders. Eating a little too much does not necessarily denote disordered eating, and because of the secretive nature of binge eating disorders they can be hard to spot. A few potential signs to look for include:
- Excessive eating in response to stress, anxiety, or other emotional challenges
- Hiding evidence of binging: wrappers, packages, and boxes
- Making light of binge eating habits
- Hoarding food and snacks
- Eating when not physically hungry
Binge Eating Disorders are often rooted in unaddressed mental or emotional traumas. As a coping mechanism, BED can cause lasting health consequences. If you or someone you love is experiencing BED, you don’t have to live in shame. Recovery is possible. Eating Disorder Solutions uses an evidence-based treatment approach which combines comprehensive behavioral health services with medical and dietary support.