Binge eating disorder (BED), now recognized as a distinct eating disorder in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, is the most prevalent eating disorder. Although nearly half of individuals with BED are obese, BED also occurs in nonobese individuals. Despite the relatively high percentage of weight loss treatment-seeking individuals meeting BED criteria, primary care physicians may not be familiar with or have ever diagnosed BED. Many providers may also have difficulty distinguishing BED as a contributory factor in obesity. This review differentiates BED from other causes of obesity by describing how obese individuals with BED differ from obese individuals without BED and from nonobese individuals with BED in areas including psychopathology, behavior, genetics, physiology, quality of life and productivity. The ways in which health-care providers can identify individuals who may have BED are also highlighted so the proper course of treatment is pursued. Overall, obese individuals with BED demonstrate a number of key characteristics that differentiate them from obese individuals without eating disorders, including increased impulsivity in response to food stimuli with loss of control over eating, resulting in the consumption of more calories. They also experience significant guilt and other negative emotions following a meal. In addition, individuals with BED patients have more psychiatric comorbidity, display more psychopathology, exhibit longer binge durations, consume more meals as snacks during the day and have less dietary restraint compared with individuals with BED who are not obese. However, the differences between individuals with BED who are obese versus not obese are not as prominent. Taken together, the evidence appears to support the conclusion that BED is a unique and treatable neurobehavioral disorder associated with distinct behavioral and psychological profiles and distinct medical and functional outcomes, and that it is not merely a subtype of obesity.
View details for PubMedID 26592916