National Eating Disorders Association

Binge Eating Disorder to be Added to DSM-5

Lauren Smolar

The "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders" (DSM) is due to be publishing the fifth edition in May 2013.  As mental health professionals eagerly await the publication, those in the eating disorder specialization are among them.  The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) is most excited about the change in the DSM-5, moving Binge Eating Disorder (BED) from something previously mentioned in Appendix B as a topic for further discussion, to a recognized illness.  This change can prove to be significant for many reasons.

The DSM is widely used by insurance companies to determine care for an individual, and establishing BED as a real illness that can be treated – not as a decision of poor eating habits – as is often mistakenly assumed, is critical to appropriate treatment and insurance coverage.  Medical professionals have the potential to become more sensitive to the needs of those who may be suffering from BED, and the importance of providing treatment referrals to eating disorder specialists.  The National Institutes of Health requires diagnosis to be in the DSM for research grants – something that could positively affect research for the area of eating disorders.  Nutritionists and dieticians may also address obesity concerns in their clients– a common side effect of BED – differently if they can recognize symptoms and direct clients to Binge Eating Disorder treatment, rather than weight management programs.

The NEDA Helpline is prepared for an increase in calls related BED, and NEDA Navigators (trained volunteers in recovery themselves or have a loved one in recovery) are available to provide support, guidance, and encouragement.   For more information on BED, please click here to see our handout. NEDA also offers support groups bimonthly for those suffering from BED. For more information please click here.