NYMC Faculty Publications

Binge-eating Disorder and Comorbid Conditions: Differential Diagnosis and Implications for Treatment

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Journal of Clinical Psychiatry

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Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences


Many patients with symptoms of binge-eating disorder (BED) are not diagnosed. Perhaps the biggest obstacles are the failure of physicians to recognize BED as a distinct disorder and the lack of awareness among patients that binge-eating is a well-studied abnormal behavior that is amenable to treatment. In addition, patients may avoid seeking treatment because they feel a general sense of shame over their eating habits and do not want to bring up these symptoms during visits with their physicians. In general, negative attitudes and biases regarding overweight and obesity are common. The presence of medical and psychiatric comorbidities also contributes to the challenge of diagnosis, as many doctors focus on treating those comorbidities, thereby delaying treatment for the BED and leading to suboptimal care. Once BED is diagnosed along with any comorbid conditions, medications for the treatment of the comorbidities must be carefully considered so that BED symptoms are not exacerbated.