Half a lifetime ago, I only knew two other people, one in college and one in my mid-20s who binged on food the way I did. We all thought that there was something seriously wrong with us and never dreamed that this behavior had a clinical name. The good news is that we are all fully recovered. The bad news is that the number of people with Binge-eating Disorder is rising.
In 1959, Binge-eating Disorder (BED) was described by Dr. Albert J. Stunkard. It was included in earlier versions of the Diagnostical and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, but didn’t become an official eating disorder diagnosis until 2013 as part of the DSM-5. According to “How Common Is Binge Eating Disorder in the US?” (EatingDisordersReview.com, vol. 28/No. 1, http://edr.karunaconsulting.com/common-binge-eating-disorder-us/
, accessed 2/26/18), its recorded prevalence grew when its criteria were increased at that time.
Criteria include bingeing at least once per week for a period of at least three months accompanied by a feeling of loss of control, eating large quantities of food quickly past fullness, and experiencing shame, upset, remorse or guilt afterwards. The major changes in the 2013 criteria were going from bingeing twice to once per week and decreasing the duration of this behavior from six to three months. Those of you who are binge-eaters, can certainly attest to the fact that having a binge once a week for three months is disordered eating. This change had less of an effect on the number of women than on men who have BED.
Based on a study by Nichole Crossrow, MPH, PhD, “Those who had a DSM-5 diagnosis of BED also were significantly more likely to report having lifetime depression, lifetime anxiety, and ADHD than were respondents who did not meet the diagnostic criteria for BED (after controlling for age, sex, and body mass index). Compared with non-BED respondents, those who met DSM-5 criteria for BED were younger and had higher BMI and lower self-esteem.” The “lifetime BED prevalence estimates based on DSM-5 criteria” is 2.03% of the US adult population sampled. “Only a very small percentage—3.2%—had ever received a formal diagnosis of BED from a healthcare professional.”
You are more fortunate than I was having BED in the previous century, although I did find a therapist who helped me recover. You have access to books, articles, videos, podcasts, and groups. Treatment helps. I say that as someone who both received it and gives it. You need not suffer alone. More to the point: why ever would you want to?