Update: Challenges for Autistic Individuals Who Also Binge-Eat

Even though binge eating is widespread among those with autism spectrum disease (ASD), current diagnostic criteria make it nearly impossible to assess binge eating among autistic patients, according to Janice Goldschmidt, MS, RD, LDN, Director of Nutrition Services at Community Support Services, Gaithersburg, MD. Goldschmidt discussed her current research and findings on binge eating and ASD during a poster session at the 2017 iaedp Symposium in Las Vegas. She also noted that although cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has strong support in the treatment of BED, it may not be effective for many ASD patients. And, DSM-5 criteria stipulate that if an ED co-occurs with ASD or another mental disorder, then the condition is secondary and a stand-alone diagnosis isn’t warranted. Goldschmidt also noted that the current practice of denying a stand-alone diagnosis of BED or any eating disorder for those with ASD and other mental disorders needs to be addressed. Without a stand-alone diagnosis, binge eating on the autism spectrum is much less likely to draw the interest of ED specialists.

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