EATING DISORDERS: BINGE EATING DISORDER

An illness that resembles bulimia nervosa is binge eating disorder. Like bulimia, the disorder is characterized by episodes of uncontrolled eating or binging. However, binge eating disorder differs from bulimia because its sufferers do not purge their bodies of excess food.

Individuals with binge eating disorder feel that they lose control of themselves when eating. They eat large quantities of food and do not stop until they are uncomfortably full. Usually, they have more difficulty losing weight and keeping it off than do people with other serious weight problems. Most people with the disorder are obese and have a history of weight fluctuations. Binge eating disorder is found in about 2 percent on the general population -- more often in women than men. Recent research shows that binge eating disorder occurs in about 30 percent of people participating in medically supervised weight control programs.

5/28/98

Written by Lee Hoffman, Office of Scientific Information (OSI), National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). An earlier version was prepared by OSI staff member Marilyn Sargent.

Scientific review was provided by NIMH staff Susan J. Blumenthal, M.D.; Harold Goldstein, Ph.D.; Harry E. Gwirtsman, M.D.; and Susan Z. Yanovski, M.D.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Public Health Service

National Institutes of Health
National Institute of Mental Health

NIH Publication No. 94-3477 Printed 1993

 

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