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B. Recognizing Binge Eating as a Psychiatric Disorder

Narrator: This is Science Today. About thirty percent of obese adults in this country have patterns of binge eating. Dr. Kim Peter Norman, a psychiatry professor at the University of California, San Francisco, says although binge eating is not yet considered an official diagnosis, it's starting to get lots of attention by primary care doctors and psychiatrists as an eating disorder.

Norman: The emotional issues that go along with the eating disorder are very much like what we see in bulimia nervosa. They'll describe themselves as filled with self-loathing. They hate their bodies, they hate their lives, they're depressed, they're anxious, they believe everybody looks at them with contempt. And they certainly see themselves that way.

Narrator: Binge eating, which is sometimes called compulsive eating, is marked by frequent and repeated eating, usually in private, in which a person often feels out of control, ashamed or depressed.

Norman: And for those individuals, emotional factors - their depression, their anxiety, their self-esteem - contributes to their obesity. And then we do give a diagnosis of emotional factors affecting physical condition obesity. And those individuals do very well when they're given psychotherapeutic kinds of interventions.

Narrator:For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.