News Headlines Article

Binge eaters struggle to get covered despite shift on diagnosis
San Francisco Chronicle

Binge eating may be the most common eating disorder in America, but health experts say it’s more stigmatized and misunderstood than anorexia and bulimia, and it’s harder to find treatment.

Recognized only last year as an official diagnosis, binge eating disorder was added to the latest edition of the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders — the so-called bible of psychiatry — in a long-fought move that gave hope to clinicians and patients alike.

“It’s a newer disorder not in terms of its existence, but from the medical community’s standpoint. There’s a real lack of understanding about what it is,” said Claire Mysko, director of programs for the National Eating Disorders Association.

An estimated 1 to 5 percent of Americans are believed to have binge eating disorder. It is characterized by eating large amounts of food at least once a week, accompanied by feelings of shame and disgust. Random overeating or digging into an entire package of Oreo cookies isn’t enough for a binge eating diagnosis.