Binge eating disorder (BED) is characterised by eating large quantities of food all at once during a set time period. Binge episodes are often accompanied by feelings of guilt and loss of control over eating.

Binge eating disorders and mood

BED is more prevalent than anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. BED is frequently associated with mood disorders, role impairment and reduced quality of life.

BED is frequently under-treated due to low diagnosis rates (1–5% according to GlobalData’s interviews with key opinion leaders and 3% according to published studies in the US).

As such, BED represents a public health concern and points out the need for asking patients about their eating problems and state of their mental health.

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).

A substantial proportion of these cases will have a comorbid mood disorder. Anxiety disorders such as generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder are the most frequent comorbidities for BED.

Approximately 55–65% of adolescents and adults with BED also suffer from anxiety disorders and more than 30% suffer from a major depressive disorder (MDD) (Figure 1).

Mood disorders alone are debilitating illnesses that impact a person physically and mentally. Published research shows that over 60% of adolescents with BED reported role impairment, such as being unable to go to school or work and carry out their day-to-day activities due to problems with their eating or weight.

In addition to role impairment, BED with a co-occurring mood disorder is likely to be associated with increased risk of mortality by suicide, as mood disorders such as MDD are associated with increased suicidal ideation and attempts.

Considering the increase in 12-month diagnosed prevalent cases in the 7MM projected for 2027, the low diagnosis rate for BED, and the extensive disability and mortality burden associated with BED with a comorbid mood disorder, it is essential to increase public awareness of the importance of diagnosing and treating BED. Since eating disorders and mood disorders are so closely associated, successful treatment needs to focus on addressing the root causes for both BED and the mood disorder.

Further 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.

Details on the epidemiology for BED in the 16MM (16MM: 7MM, China, Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, and South Korea) can be found in on GlobalData’s Epidemiology and Market Size Database.

Figure 1: Overview of diagnosed prevalent cases of BED with a comorbid mood disorder (%) in the 7MM, both sexes, adolescents and adults, 2017

Source: GlobalData Note: 7MM = US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK, and Japan; ADHD = attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; MDD = major depressive disorder; OCD = obsessive compulsive disorder; PTSD = post-traumatic stress disorder