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3% of Americans Are Binge Eating

Survey Shows Uncontrollable Binge Eating Is the Most Common Eating Disorder

What Are the Treatments?

"There are basically three forms of treatment," Hudson said.

"One is psychological treatment, especially cognitive and behavioral techniques. This has been effective for binge eating, less so for losing weight," he said.

"The second is medications, especially topiramate [Topamax] and sibutramine [Meridia]," Hudson noted.

"And finally, for individuals with severe obesity, there are surgical procedures, but those are reserved for more severe cases," he said.

Surprise Anorexia Finding

In addition to yielding the first hard data on the extent of binge eating disorder, the survey turned up another surprising finding: Many people with anorexia have a mild version of the disorder.

"This study shows anorexia is not invariably chronic and severe -- although it often is, and I don't want to suggest it cannot be a devastating condition," Hudson said. "But for every anorexia case that comes into the hospital, our data suggests that there are other cases that get better rather quickly."

Hudson said the finding suggests treatment could be improved by finding out which factors are linked to quickly getting over anorexia, and which factors are linked to more severe, chronic anorexia.

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