Statistics After Inpatient Treatment For Binge Eating Disorder

Woman who's getting help in eating disorder from a dietitian

Binge eating disorder is a serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder that impacts countless of people around the world of various ages, genders, cultures, socioeconomic backgrounds and more.  According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, approximately 1 out of every 35 American adults is suffering from binge eating disorder [1].

The National Institute of Mental Health has estimated that just over 28% of those with binge eating disorder are receiving necessary treatment, which leaves an overwhelming number of individuals who are unable to connect to the support needed for recovery [2].  Binge eating disorder treatment is a necessary component of recovery and healing, and professional interventions can be life-saving for a person struggling with this eating disorder.

Understanding Binge Eating Disorder

Of the main eating disorders that are commonly heard of and discussed, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder is often most misunderstood and stigmatized.

Although more people struggle with binge eating disorder than anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa combined, it is also the newest eating disorder to be formally recognized in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fifth Edition).

Woman with Binge Eating Disorder on shoreline

Many people sadly misunderstand binge eating disorder to be nothing more than compulsive eating or a lack of control when it comes to eating, but there is much more to this eating disorder than meets the eye.

Binge eating disorder is influenced by a variety of complex factors, include genetics, neurochemicals, and neurobiology, which may increase a person’s predisposition to this mental illness.

Environmental factors, such as the exposure to trauma or a dieting culture, may also increase a person’s susceptibility to binge eating disorder.

There are many factors involved with binge eating disorder that is not necessarily in a person’s control, which makes the eating disorder much more complex than simply being “unable to exercise self-control” around food.

A person with binge eating disorder may develop maladaptive behaviors with food as a means of coping with difficult circumstances or emotions, and the consequences of untreated binge eating disorder can be severe.

Overview of Treatment Options

With improved awareness and understanding about binge eating disorder, there has been an increase in available evidenced-based treatment approaches. This is helping improve the prognosis of binge eating disorder for the many people who struggle with this eating disorder around the world.

Multiple levels of treatment for binge eating disorder are available, depending on the severity of the eating disorder and unique needs that a person may have. Because binge eating disorder is a psychiatric illness, an individual dealing with this eating disorder often has medical, emotional, and psychiatric issues that must be professionally addressed.

Inpatient hospitalization is the acutest treatment available for binge eating disorder and may be necessary for a person who is medically unstable or who has complications due to coexisting medical problems, such as heart disease or diabetes.

In addition, a person with binge eating disorder who is psychiatrically unstable, including suicidal, inpatient treatment may be vital for supervision and safety.

The intensity and duration of binge eating disorder treatment with inpatient hospitalization are determined by a variety of factors, including overall mental health status, any co-occurring medical/psychological disorders, the severity and extent of binge eating, and insurance coverage available for treatment [3].

Effectiveness of Inpatient Binge Eating Disorder Treatment

Inpatient treatment for binge eating disorder is often a stepping stone in the continuum of care for the eating disorder itself. This stage of treatment often helps prepare a person with binge eating disorder for the next levels of care, such as residential treatment or partial hospitalization.

Medical and psychiatric stabilization is a priority for inpatient binge eating disorder treatment and will allow a person to be more successful in other levels of treatment.

Woman looking over valley considering inpatient treatmentFor individuals who received eating disorder treatment, follow-up studies at five years have found that approximately 70 percent of cases were determined to have a good prognosis, which highlights the importance of specialized binge eating disorder treatment [4].

If you have been struggling with binge eating disorder and are unsure about the level of care you need to begin your recovery journey, be sure to connect with an eating disorder specialist today! Improving the overall quality of your life by overcoming binge eating disorder is possible with individualized and comprehensive eating disorder treatment.

Crystal Headshot 2About the Author: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC is a Contributing Writer for Eating Disorder Hope.

Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing. As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH and nutrition private practice.


[1]: National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, “Eating Disorder Statistics”, Accessed 10 July 2017
[2]: Hudson JI, Hiripi E, Pope HG, Kessler RC. The prevalence and correlates of eating disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Biological Psychiatry. 2007; 61:348-58.
[3]: National Eating Disorder Association, “Treatment Settings and Levels of Care” Accessed 10 July 2017
[4]: Fairburn CG, Cooper Z, Doll HA, Norman P, O’Connor M. The natural course of bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder in young women. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2000;57(7):659-65.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Published on September 27, 2017.
Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on September 27, 2017.
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