Within the category of Atypical Eating Disorders, or Otherwise Specified Eating and Feeding Disorders, BED (Binge Eating Disorder) is definitely the most common.
This disorder is characterised by:
- Recurring episodes of binge eating, associated to other related symptoms;
- Marked discomfort caused by lack of control over eating;
- Crisis frequency of at least two days a week for six months;
- No compensatory behaviours.
In contrast to Bulimia Nervosa patients, who usually present normal weight, BED sufferers often seek help in centres specialising in the treatment of obesity, rather than those specialising in the treatment of eating disorders. In this way, they receive a diet and physical care, but their Eating Disorder psychopathology remains untreated.
The incidence of morbidly obese patients who apply for weight loss treatments is about 30%. Women are affected by BED more often than men (3:2 ratio). This disorder presents a heightened propensity for obesity and frequent psychiatric comorbidity (especially with major depression).
Those affected by this disorder, unlike overweight or obese people who are not affected by BED, have chaotic eating habits, with elevated food consumption both during and between meals.