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Treatment for Binge Eating Disorder

Treatment of binge eating disorder is challenging, because most people feel ashamed of their disorder and try to hide their problem. Often, they are so successful that close family members and friends don't know they binge eat.

Eating disorders require a comprehensive treatment plan that is adjusted to meet the needs of each patient. The goal of treatment for binge eating disorder is to help the person gain control over his or her eating behavior. Treatment most often involves a combination of the following strategies:

  • Psychotherapy: This is a type of individual counseling that focuses on changing the thinking (cognitive therapy) and behavior (behavioral therapy) of a person with an eating disorder. Treatment includes practical techniques for developing healthy attitudes toward food and weight, as well as approaches for changing the way the person responds to difficult situations.
  • Medication : Lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse) is approved by the FDA to treat binge eating disorder. The drug, which is also used to treat ADHD, helps reduce the number of episodes. The most common side effects are dry mouth, trouble sleeping, increased heart rate, and jittery feelings. But it also has some risk of serious problems, like psychiatric trouble, heart attack, and stroke. The antiseizure drug topiramate (Topamax) may also help, but its side effects can include memory problems, tingling sensations in fingers and toes, trouble speaking, and sedation. Doctors may sometimes recommend antidepressants, too.
  • Nutrition counseling: This strategy is designed to help restore normal eating patterns, and to teach the importance of nutrition and a balanced diet.
  • Group and/or family therapy: Family support is very important to treatment success. It is important that family members understand the eating disorder and recognize its signs and symptoms. People with eating disorders might benefit from group therapy, where they can find support and openly discuss their feelings and concerns with others who share common experiences and problems.

What Is the Outlook for People With Binge Eating Disorder?

Like other eating disorders, binge eating disorder is a serious problem that can be solved with proper treatment. With treatment and commitment, many people with this disorder can overcome the habit of overeating and learn healthy eating patterns.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on January 14, 2015

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