Executive Director Jennifer Lombardi, MFT, of Summit Eating Disorders and Outreach Program is featured in this US News & World Report article on binge eating disorder and how it is now listed as an official diagnosis in the DSM-5. Read an excerpt of the article below or to view it in its entirety, click here. Binge Eating Disorder: A Diagnosis for Healing By age 6, Chevese Turner had already begun binging. It started with a box of ice cream cones she snuck into her bedroom. She then proceeded to devour them all. "I was always sneaking food. I would hide it. I would store it," says Turner, founder and CEO of the Binge Eating Disorder Association. "It wasn't necessarily that I even ate more than most people, but I was preoccupied with food. I was essentially learning to use food to cope with life." Her eating pattern of binging, followed by restriction – the latter a form of compensation and punishment that actually set her up for more binging – continued into adulthood. Eventually, Turner, now 45, conquered the disorder by accepting herself and learning healthy coping skills to handle stress.
But it wasn't until receiving the right diagnosis that she could begin to recover, a process that only fully began in 2010. And that's why Turner and others are celebrating the fact that binge eating disorder will receive an official diagnosis in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, the standard reference book for mental health professionals, scheduled to be released later this month. "It's recognition that what we have experienced is an eating disorder," Turner says. "What that means on a larger scale is that people with issues around food, and a lot of the feelings that go along with it, will finally have all of that validated, that this is something that they're not alone in." The move also paves the way for more research, treatments and, potentially, insurance coverage. However, payment hinges on parity laws, which call for equal coverage of mental health disorders, but vary by state. "In most states, parity law only encompasses anorexia and bulimia, so what that has meant is that these conditions typically receive more comprehensive coverage for treatment," explains Jennifer Lombardi, a marriage and family clinician and executive director of Summit Eating Disorders and Outreach Program in Sacramento, Calif. The new classification of binge eating disorder could come under parity laws that offer people more treatment options, Lombardi says. "Hopefully this will begin a dialogue [and help health care officials] work with insurance companies to provide better care and more comprehensive care." Binge eating disorder was included in the current DSM, released in 1994, as an "eating disorder not otherwise specified" – a catch-all category – requiring further study. Since then, more than 1,000 articles have been published on the subject. The articlesreveal the "significant distress," anxiety and mood disturbances associated with the disorder and the effictiveness of psychological treatments and medications, says Timothy Walsh, chair of the DSM-5 Eating Disorders Work Group of the American Psychiatric Association. "It was widely agreed that mentioning binge eating disorder only as an example of an eating disorder not otherwise specified was of limited help to individuals who suffered with the disorder and to the professionals attempting to assist them," he says.