How is Binge Eating Disorder Diagnosed?Binge Eating Disorder is diagnosed by a mental health professional, usually after identifying symptoms and behaviors that characterize the illness. There are other medical illnesses that can cause symptoms that are similar to those seen in Binge Eating Disorder, so an individual should have a complete medical evaluation to rule out other illnesses.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition; (DSM–5; American Psychiatric Association, 2013) diagnostic criterion for Binge Eating Disorder are as follows:

  • Recurrent episodes of binge eating. An episode of binge eating is characterized by both:
    • eating, in a discrete period of time, an amount of food that is definitely larger than most people would eat in a similar period of time under similar circumstances
    • a sense of lack of control over eating during the episode
  • Episodes include three (or more) behaviors:
    • eating much 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 afterwards
  • Marked distress regarding binge eating is present
  • The binge eating occurs, on average, at least once a week for three months.
  • The binge eating is not associated with the recurrent use of inappropriate compensatory behavior (for example, purging)