Binge-eating disorder is significantly more common using DSM-5 criteria than previously estimated, but the disorder is very rarely formally diagnosed, according to Nicole Cossrow, Ph.D., and her associates.

In a survey of 22,397 respondents of the 2012 and 2013 National Health and Wellness Survey, 344 people had symptoms matching binge-eating disorder (BED) criteria in the DSM-5. Women accounted for just over 70% of BED cases. Compared with non-BED respondents, respondents with BED were more likely to be younger, have a high body mass index, and have lower self-esteem as assessed by the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, the investigators reported.

The 12-month BED prevalence rate in the U.S. population using DSM-5 criteria is 1.64%, compared with the 1.15% estimated by the DSM-IV-TR. Of the 344 respondents who met the DSM-5 criteria for BED in the past 12 months, only 11 had been diagnosed with BED.

The low rate of BED diagnosis “may be due to the fact that BED was not a distinct disorder in DSM-IV-TR and would have been diagnosed as eating disorder not otherwise specified. Nonetheless, this low diagnosis rate emphasizes the need to improve awareness and recognition of BED among patients and health care providers,” Dr. Cossrow and her associates noted.

Find the full study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (doi: 10.4088/JCP.15m10059)


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