It has been estimated that the rates of Binge Eating Disorder in the general population are between 2-5% in any given 6-month period. Symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder include:
- Recurrent episodes of binge eating, characterized by eating an excessive amount of food within a discrete period of time, and by a sense of lack of control over eating during the episode
- The binge eating episodes are associated with at least 3 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 being embarrassed by how much one is eating; feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed, or very guilty after overeating
- Marked distress about the binge eating behaviour
- The binge eating occurs, on average, at least 2 days a week for 6 months
- The binge eating is not associated with the regular use of inappropriate compensatory behaviours (e.g., purging, fasting, excessive exercise)
People with Binge Eating Disorder are very distressed by their frequent episodes of out-of-control eating. The main difference in eating pattern between Binge Eating Disorder and Bulimia Nervosa is that individuals with Binge Eating Disorder do not purge excess calories following a binge. Many with the disorder are overweight for their age and height and have struggled with their weight for some time. Feelings of self-disgust and shame are also associated with this eating pattern.