How Do I Know if I have Binge Eating Disorder?

Many people seek out help for weight loss thinking that they just don't have the "willpower" to control their food-choices or that they are just too "weak" and "out of control" when it comes to food. However the reality is that many people who seek out weight-loss help are actually struggling with binge eating disorder, which is an eating disorder. It is absolutely possible to make a full recovery from binge eating disorder with appropriate psychological treatment. We have found at the clinic that an interdisciplinary approach is the most effective at treating this condition and allowing individuals to make a full recovery. The problem however is that many people struggling with binge eating disorder actually end up just turning to weight loss tools such as calorie counting, intermittent fasting, cutting out food groups or something similar and all of these weight-loss strategies can actually make binge-eating much worse long-term.

So how can you tell if you have binge eating disorder? The diagnostic criteria for the disorder (set out in the DSM-5) are as set out below. If you meet these criteria you would be diagnosed with the disorder:

Criterion 1: Recurrent episodes of binge eating. An episode of binge eating is characterised by both of the following:

a) Eating, in a discrete period of time (e.g., within any 2-hour period), an amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat in a similar period of time under similar circumstances.

b) The sense of lack of control over eating during the episode (e.g., a feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating).

Criterion 2: Binge-eating episodes are associated with three (or more) of the following:

a) Eating much more rapidly than normal.

b) Eating until feeling uncomfortably full.

c) Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry.

d) Eating alone because of being embarrassed by how much one is eating.

e) Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilty after overeating.

Criterion 3: Marked distress regarding binge eating is present.