Our objective was to evaluate clinical differences between morbid obese patients with and without binge eating.
We evaluated 210 morbid obese patients who were referred consecutively to a psychiatric evaluation in a general hospital for different reasons. We used a clinical interview, evaluated psychiatric comorbidity and applied a series of psychopathology and eating behavior scales: Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), Maudsley Obsessive-Compulsive Interview (MOCI), Barrat Impulsiveness Scale (BIS), Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI), Eating Attitudes Test (EAT), Bulimic Investigatory Test Edinburgh (BITE) and Body Shape Questionnaire (BSQ). The sample was divided in two subgroups: patients with binge eating according to ICD-10 and DSM-IV criteria, and patients without binge eating. The first subgroup was composed of 14 patients with bulimia nervosa, 32 with binge eating disorder, and 15 patients with binge eating who did not fulfill criteria for bulimia or binge eating disorder (subgroup was composed by 61 patients vs 145 patients without binge eating).
Binge eating patients showed more psychopathology, more prevalence of dysthymia, higher score in impulsiveness, and scales that evaluated eating disorder. Binge eating patients showed more familial background of eating disorders; more body dissatisfaction in spite of a lower Body Mass Index (BMI). This group showed more functional disability induced by obesity and more weight and shape overconcern. CONCLUSIONS. The findings suggest that the morbid obese with binge eating constitute a distinct subgroup (independently of eating disorder diagnosis) among the obese population, with more psychopathology severity, especially affective disorder, more impulsivity, and more severity in core items of eating disorder scales and body dissatisfaction.