How can I tell if I have Binge Eating Disorder?

A “binge” episode is characterized by eating a larger amount of food than normal during a short period of time (less than two hours), and a lack of control over eating during the binge episode. Recurrent episodes of binge eating are indicative of a binge eating disorder.

Binge eating episodes are associated with three or more of the following:

• Eating much more rapidly than normal

• Eating until feeling uncomfortably full

• Eating large amounts of food when not physically hungry

• Eating alone because you are embarrassed by how much you’re eating

• Feeling disgusted, depressed, or guilty after overeating

• Marked distress regarding over eating is present

• Binge eating occurs a least 2 days a week for six months

• Binge eating is not followed by inappropriate compensatory (purging) behavior (as described for bulimia and anorexia).

If you meet many of these criteria, I would recommend looking for a program in your area that treats eating disorders . A good place to start is a university hospital or medical school. A psychologist may also be extremely helpful and schools can usually make good recommendations. Most people think of anorexia or bulimia when they think of eating disorders but binge eating is one, too. For more information on eating disorders, please refer to: and

[Descriptions are abstracted from the DSM-IV, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition, Washington D.C.: American Psychiatric Association, 1994.]