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RAISING AWARENESS FOR BINGE EATING DISORDER

AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION
Tuesday, February 26, 2013

What is Binge Eating Disorder?

Binge Eating Disorder involves frequent overeating during a discreet period of time (at least once a week for three months), combined with lack of control and is associated with three or more of the following:
  • Eating more rapidly than normal
  • Eating until feeling uncomfortably full
  • Eating large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry
  • Eating alone because of feeling embarrassed by how much one is eating
  • Feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilty afterward 
Binge Eating Disorder also causes marked distress and does not occur during the course of another eating disorder, such as Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia.

What is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders?
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is used by mental health professionals around the world to help them accurately diagnose psychiatric disorders. The fifth edition of this manual (DSM-5) will be released in May 2013 after 14 years of extensive research studies and input from the best experts in the field.

What is different about Binge Eating Disorder in DSM-5?
Binge Eating Disorder was previously categorized as a “diagnosis for further study.” In DSM-5, it is defined as a unique psychiatric condition with more specific criteria.

Why is it important that Binge Eating Disorder is being recognized as a unique psychiatric condition in DSM-5?
Being recognized as a true mental disorder will raise public awareness of this troubling condition and may help individuals identify themselves as needing support. Increased awareness can lead to increased interest and funding in the research community, so that we may continue to learn more about this disorder and find better treatments. This designation as a “disorder” may also make insurance companies more likely to cover therapy and medications used to treat Binge Eating Disorder. 

What should I do if I think I am suffering from Binge Eating Disorder?
Binge Eating Disorder treatment is complex and individualized. It can include therapy, medications, and addressing other psychiatric conditions or health problems such as obesity that are also occurring. If you think that you, or a loved one, are suffering from this condition, you should contact a mental health professional for diagnosis and treatment recommendations.

How is Binge Eating Disorder treated?
If you decide to see a psychiatrist for treatment of Binge Eating Disorder, he or she will start by asking questions about your medical and psychiatric history and symptoms that you are concerned about. Common components of a treatment plan might include addressing any underlying medical problems such as obesity or high blood pressure and psychotherapy to help with depressionanxiety, or other emotional problems. Medications may also be used if your doctor thinks it is indicated. There is no magic cure for Binge Eating Disorder, and your psychiatrist will work with you to create an individualized treatment plan.

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