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Binge-eating disorder (BED) was identified in 1959 but was not included as a medical diagnostic category until 1994. BED is characterized by frequent episodes of binge eating, occurring at least two days a week for six months.
Binge-eating episodes are associated with at least three of the following:
eating until feeling uncomfortably full.
eating when not hungry.
eating alone because of embarrassment.
feeling disgusted, depressed or guilty after overeating.
To meet criteria for BED, a person must also experience marked distress about the binge eating and not regularly engage in self-induced vomiting, fasting or abuse of laxatives or diuretics.
Unlike other eating disorders, such as bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa, BED affects a substantial number of men. BED is more common among the severely overweight but can be found among people of any weight. Regardless of a person's weight, it is typical for the BED sufferer to feel overweight and to have a history of many attempts to lose weight. The onset of binge eating is often closely associated with dieting, typically occurring in late adolescence.