Binge-eating disorder will be recognized as a mental-disorder diagnosis by the
fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and
Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the "bible" of psychiatry.
The term 'addiction' has long been associated with
continued, compulsive and uncontrolled use of substances like alcohol, drugs and
practices like smoking, which are harmful to the body. Recently, psychiatrists
have extended the definition to include behaviors problems related to gambling,
internet use and sex.
Food, on the other hand, is a
necessity for survival and is distinct from other factors considered addictive.
Food has neither a tolerance limit nor withdrawal symptoms. However, there are
problems associated with food like eating beyond satiety and binge eating.
The recently updated version of the Diagnostic and
Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) will include binge-eating disorder
as a new type of diagnosis for addiction.
Research has also
revealed that the same regions of the brain are active while taking food and
with other addictions. This does not necessarily mean that food could be
considered an addictive substance.
The journal Biological
Psychiatry in an attempt to explore this topic further in its latest issue led
by guest editors Drs. Dana Small and Ralph DiLeone, at the Yale School of
Medicine, had called for research findings and reviews supporting both sides of
The research papers had looked at various aspects
of addiction like reward mechanisms of the brain, obesity related to over
eating, addiction and self control.
The harmful effects of
binge eating has led many authors to argue that food could be considered an
addictive substance, while others opine that food being an essential part of our
lives cannot be considered as addictive.
highlights the need for further research into the subject.