Binge Eating Disorder

The DSM-V is the diagnostic manual created by the American Psychological Association (APA), and in it contains the diagnostic criteria for each of the Eating and Feeding Disorders. As per the DSM-V, for an individual to be diagnosed with Binge Eating Disorder, they must display;


A) Recurrent episodes of binge eating. An episode of binge eating is characterized by both of the following:
1. Eating, in a discrete period of time (e.g., within any 2-hour period), an amount of food that is definitely larger than what most people would eat in a similar period of time under similar circumstances.
2. A 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).

(B) The binge-eating episodes are associated with three (or more) of the following:
 1. Eating much more rapidly than normal.
 2. Eating until feeling uncomfortably full.
 3. Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry.
 4. Eating alone because of feeling embarrassed by how much one is eating.
 5. Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilty afterward.

C) Marked distress regarding binge eating is present.

D) The binge eating occurs, on average, at least once a week for 3 months.

E) The binge eating is not associated with the recurrent use of inappropriate compensatory behaviour as in bulimia nervosa and does not occur exclusively during the course of bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa.


Once the diagnosis is made, it’s severity is then classified through measurement of frequency of binge episodes.

  • Mild: 1–3 binge-eating episodes per week.
  • Moderate: 4–7 binge-eating episodes per week.
  • Severe: 8–13 binge-eating episodes per week.
  • Extreme: 14 or more binge-eating episodes per week.