The board of trustees of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) approved a set of updates, revisions and changes to the reference manual used to diagnose mental disorders. The revision of the manual, called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), is the first significant update in nearly two decades. Binge Eating Disorder was added to the manual.
Big changes in the eating disorder field – Binge Eating Disorder has been added to the DSM-5. Binge eating disorder has been moved from DSM-4’s Appendix B: Criteria Sets and Axes Provided for Further Study to DSM-5 Section 2. The change is intended to better represent the symptoms and behaviors of people with this condition. This means binge eating disorder is now a real, recognized mental disorder.
Binge eating is the most common eating disorder in the United States affecting approximately 3.5% of women and 2% of men. Binge eating affects more men than other types of eating disorders. The current DSM- 4 includes the criteria for binge eating under the diagnosis of Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. This disorder is marked not only by eating large amounts of food within a short time period, but also by high levels of distress, lack of control, and feelings of guilt or disgust with oneself. Criteria for the disorder is not dependent upon the types of food consumed, but rather the amount and circumstances surrounding the eating ( for example: eating when you are not hungry and/or eating until you are uncomfortably full).
The hope is that with proper diagnosis, more people struggling with this eating disorder will be able to find treatment. Addictive substances such as tobacco, alcohol and other drugs may be eliminated from one’s life. However, food, also potentially addictive, must be consumed to live. For this and many other reasons, eating disorders can be difficult to overcome. The new DSM 5 will hopefully bring more awareness and understanding to the prevalent problem of binge eating.