BINGE EATING DISORDER ~ Different from Anorexia and Bulimia

binge eating

I was searching for information on bingeing and came across this article on (, where they wrote that binge eating disorder is different from anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.

It was stated that food addiction is not yet recognized as a mental disorder but certain obese individuals clearly display addictive-like behavior towards food.  To achieve a formal diagnostic status, ‘food addiction’ requires a stronger evidence base to support the claim that certain ingredients have addictive properties identical to addictive drugs of abuse.  This topic is up for debate in the session, ‘Binge eating obesity is a food addiction’.

This year’s fifth edition of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) recognizes ‘binge eating disorder‘ (BED) as distinct from Anorexia nervosa and Bulimia nervosa, but it remains debatable whether BED is underpinned by an addiction disorder and should be prevented and treated like other addictive disorders.

The new category ‘Substance-related and addictive disorders’ in DSM-5 combines the DSM-IV categories of substance abuse and substance dependence into a single disorder measured on a continuum from mild to severe.  Importantly, the term ‘dependence’ is not used anymore in DSM-5, because most people link dependence with addiction when, in fact, dependence can be a normal body response to a substance.

More on binge eating disorder continues in the article.


6 thoughts on “BINGE EATING DISORDER ~ Different from Anorexia and Bulimia

  1. nomnomhelp says:

    Hello, I’m just going to put my hand up and wave and say yup, I have Binge Eating Disorder too. Had it for 20 years now, but just starting to seek help. It is a recognised disorder in it’s own right and I talk about it on my blog (nice little plug there, if you want to take a look…). When I eat in front of others I come across as virtuous, I’m always having the nice low fat options, I can say no to pudding etc. That’s mainly because I’m convinced that everybody is watching me eat and convinced they think a fat person should not be eating. I would weigh myself every day, be disgusted with the site of myself in the mirror. I think I have done just about every diet going, sometimes with a little success. But when I get the urges to Binge I have zero control. I walk into a supermarket and tell myself “we just need toilet paper, we just need toilet paper, we just need toilet paper”. And when I walk out I have a loaf of chocolate chip bread, a family sized chocolate cheesecake and maybe a box of muffins. I then sit in my car and devour. Sometimes I have stories ready in case anybody asks me questions at the checkout, such as ‘oops, forgotten the puddings for the party’ or something like that. I am then filled with shame, have to get rid of all the evidence and then return home to my family and pretend that all is well. Added to that is the stigma that because our eating disorder doesn’t kill us or cause major health concerns (apart from those generally associated with being overweight), we are told that we are not really entitled to help or that it’s not a real eating disorder. We therefore feel ashamed to ask for help which adds to the misery. Thankfully though that is changing and help is more available. Yey! I’m now campaigning by waving my little BED flag to encourage others to get help 😀 Thanks for postings – it’s great to see people without the illness taking an interest.


    • cherished79 says:

      Thank you for sharing this. I don’t have the Binge Eating Disorder, however, was dx with Anorexia, and would never share that with an outsider or a person I haven’t seen in ages as I’m sure their thoughts would be, “hmmmm, she’s lost alot of weight, but she’s not exactly anorexic”. So, I am facing this eating disorder because I’ve lost a huge amount of weight in a short time and struggling with this crappy illness now that an outsider would have a difficult time understanding. And should I share this with anyone, I would be ashamed to sit somewhere enjoying some fries and a hamburger (gee, I thought she had an eating problem). So much pressure, isn’t it?


      • nomnomhelp says:

        Very much so! It’s quite unfair that we have to keep trying to convince friends, family, professionals and even ourselves that we have a problem and need help. As JellyJennyBean says, people can switch between Eating Disorders and I was, for about 6 months, anorexic. I was congratulated on my weight loss because I was overweight to start off with and nobody saw there was a problem – they thought I was just off on another of my mad diets and were all wanting to know the secret. I didn’t tell them it was 200 calories a day. I didn’t even bother trying to explain it to people because I knew I would get the ‘but you can’t be’ response which would make me feel worse. It’s been so refreshing to talk to people who really do understand. I would encourage anybody to find a local support group and actually meet people who are in the same situation. I have to say that I have managed to find the courage to talk to some of my friends and family and the responses have been really surprising. People have been really supportive and so far I haven’t felt uncomfortable eating with them (I was convinced I would have people staring at me while I ate). Other than big verbal hugs, people have treated me normally. People may surprise you, half of your fears may be the Eating Disorder talking. Just a thought, in your own time 🙂


        • cherished79 says:

          I start my Eating Disorder Program through the hospital next Friday, here’s crossing my fingers. Thanks for your reply and support.


  2. jellyjennybean says:

    Thanks for posting this. It is an interesting article. I’m intrigued by the possibility of binge eating disorder being more of an addictive behaviour. At the same time I’m curious to find out how this inter-links with it being a coping mechanism aside from the addictive nature of binging. Individuals with binge eating disorder like other eating disorders can switch from one eating disorder to another. From binging daily, feeling complete lack of ability to control the urge to binge, to restricting and being horrified by the idea of eating. Perhaps I’m wrong. After all I’m not trained in nutrition or eating disorders. I speak from personal experience. When I had binge eating disorder I felt completely helpless to the urges to binge and a genuine ‘need’ to eat vast amounts. However despite the overwhelming urges being a daily part of my life my behaviours flicked yet again to restricting and the urges have been replaced with repulsion and feeling horror around food. Maybe there is an element of addictive behaviour but I would also suggest there is a huge psychological element that creates that behaviour in the first place. I hope this comment makes sense. I know what I mean in my head 😛


    • cherished79 says:

      Your comment does make sense, and appreciate an opinion from someone who has experienced this.

      When I went searching for “Binge Eating”, and I became curious, as I was asked that in my assessment for the ED Program. I only know bingeing from my very overweight days, where I would binge – which only made sense. However, with this anorexia dx, I now binge also but ultimately restrict after. So, looking at it this way, now it’s become a ‘behavior’. As far as the bingeing dx as a “disorder”, that was completely new to me, and didn’t know it was slotted as a mental illness under the DSM-IV, seperate from anorexia and bulimia.


Would love a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s