The most common eating disorder

The most common eating disorder is probably binge eating disorder, affecting 2-3% of the U.S. adult population at some point in their lifetime. 1 The qualifier “probably” is used here because, due to the secretive and private nature of binge eating disorder and eating disorders in general, accurate statistics are difficult to obtain.

Although anorexia nervosa may be the most widely recognized eating disorder, it is not as prevalent

Binge eating disorder will gain more prominence in the public sphere in 2013 because it will be included in the DSM 5, the new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It was not included in prior editions.

In addition to being a problem on its own, binge eating disorder also occurs as part of bulimia nervosa. The cause of binge eating is unkown but as many as half of people with binge eating disorder also suffer from depression. 2

Treatment is usually a combination of behavioral therapy, antidepressant medication and nutritional education. Remission rates are high but the overall prognosis is higher than it is for bulimia. 3

Binge eating disorder is 1.5 times more common in women than in men.

To learn more, please see our main article on binge eating disorder.


  1. and Weight-control Information Network
  2. Weight-control Information Network
  3. ANAD
Eating Disorder Self Test. Take the EAT-26 self test to see if you might have eating disorder symptoms that might require professional evaluation. All answers are confidential.

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