Binge Eating Disorder
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How Is Binge Eating Disorder Treated?
Treatment for binge eating disorder has a goal of getting eating binges under control, but it also addresses the psychological issues that are associated with, and that may trigger the binges. This means treating the sources of poor body image or self-esteem, depression, and anxiety that typically go along with binge eating, in addition to the bingeing behavior itself.
Therapy sessions with a mental health professional, either one-on-one or in a group therapy setting, will focus on giving the sufferer the tools and skills necessary to get binge eating and its underlying issues under control.
Psychotherapy treatment for binge eating disorder can take several different approaches:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). This type of psychotherapy aims to teach the sufferer how to recognize the pattern of behavior surrounding the binges and to develop strategies for changing those patterns.
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). This type of therapy is similar to CBT in that it helps the sufferer to develop coping strategies, but DBT tries to get at the underlying emotional issues that may be contributing to the binge eating episodes.
- Interpersonal Therapy. This type of therapy concentrates on the sufferer’s relationships with the people around them. This therapy may be particularly helpful when the binges are linked with relationship problems or stresses.
Medications may be used to treat binge eating disorder directly or to treat other psychological issues that are associated with binge eating.
- Vyvanse. Vyvanse is a brand name for the drug lisdexamfetamine dimesylate. This drug is a stimulant first used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, but it has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for moderate-to-severe binge eating disorder. This drug may be habit-forming and is sometimes abused. It is known to have sometimes serious side effects, and it can have potentially serious interactions with a long list of other drugs.
- Topamax. Topamax is a brand name for the drug topiramate. Originally an anticonvulsant used to treat seizures, the drug has shown effectiveness at treating binge eating disorder.
- Antidepressants. These medications may be used to treat mood disorders that are also present, and they may also help to control bingeing episodes.
Because dieting is often seen as a contributing factor in the development of binge eating disorder, weight-loss programs are typically discouraged during treatment for the disorder. However, some medically supervised behavioral weight-loss programs–rather than diet-based programs–may sometimes be a part of the treatment plan.
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