According to the National Health Service (NHS), binge eating disorder (BED) is an eating disorder characterised by eating large quantities of food in a discrete period of time and feeling a sense of lack of control over eating during the episode.

Signs of BED vary, and the disorder may be accompanied by physical changes; for example, some people experience weight gain. Other signs and symptoms can be psychological and emotional, such as feeling uncomfortable eating in front of other people or hoarding food, among other behaviours. Research carried out by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that BED is more prevalent than bulimia nervosa (BN) in adults, and studies carried out in US adolescents show that it is more prevalent than both anorexia nervosa (AN) and BN. However, only a small proportion of BED patients are currently diagnosed by a physician. According to GlobalData’s interviews with key opinion leaders, just 1%–5% of patients receive a physician’s diagnosis, and published research indicates a diagnosis rate of approximately 3% in the US.

GlobalData anticipates that the one-year diagnosed prevalent cases of BED will increase from approximately 197,000 cases in 2017 to 204,000 cases in 2027 in the seven major markets (7MM: US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, and Japan), as shown in Figure 1). In May 2013, the American Psychiatric Association released the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), in which BED is classified as a specific eating disorder. The previous manual, DSM-IV, was published in 1994 and listed binge eating as a non-specific eating disorder. Listing BED as a specific eating disorder is an important change because it outlines standardised guidelines and definitions for diagnosis. Having a DSM diagnosis for BED also means that patients could be more likely to have their treatment covered by health insurance. Furthermore, having a distinct diagnostic category could mean a greater number of patients receive a proper diagnosis and treatment for the set of symptoms they exhibit. Details about the trend analysis and a further discussion of BED epidemiology can be found in GlobalData’s Binge Eating Disorder (BED): Epidemiology Forecast to 2027.

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