Binge Eating Disorder Diagnosis

DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria for Binge Eating Disorder

According to the DSM-5, diagnostic criteria for binge eating disorder include:

  • Recurrent episodes of binge eating. An episode of binge eating is characterized by both of the following:
    • Eating, in a discrete period of time (for example, within any two-hour period), 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 (for example, a feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating)
  • The binge-eating episodes are associated with three (or more) of the following:
    • 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) and does not occur exclusively during the course of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder.

It is extremely important to note that weight or appearance is not part of the diagnostic criteria for binge eating disorder.

Diagnostic Exams and Tests for Binge Eating Disorder

If your doctor suspects that you have binge eating disorder, he or she will typically run several exams and tests to help eliminate other medical explanations and check for any related complications.

  • Physical Exam. This may include measuring your height and weight; checking your vital signs, such as heart rate, blood pressure and temperature; checking your skin and nails; listening to your heart and lungs; and examining your abdomen.
  • Lab Tests. These may include a complete blood count and more specialized tests to check electrolytes and protein, as well as function of your liver, kidney and thyroid. A urinalysis may also be performed.
  • Psychological Evaluation. A therapist or mental health provider will likely ask about your thoughts, feelings and eating habits. You may also be asked to complete a psychological self-report questionnaire.
  • Other Studies. X-rays may be taken to evaluate for heart problems. Electrocardiograms may be used to identify heart irregularities. Tests may also be used to determine how much energy your body uses, which can help in planning nutritional requirements.

Based on the results of the exams and tests, an appropriate treatment program will be recommended for you or your family member/loved one.

Regain Your Life. Walden Can Help.

If you are concerned that you – or a loved one – may have an eating disorder, we are here to help. Please call 781-647-6727 to speak with a Walden eating disorders intake specialist, or complete the form on this page, to start the road to recovery.

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