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Binge Eating Disorder - Treatment Overview

Treatment for binge eating disorder includes counseling and sometimes medicine. Goals in treating binge eating often include:

Most people with binge eating disorder need treatment, but many people who have an eating disorder try to keep it secret or deny that they have a problem. Some might join weight management programs to lose weight but do not seek treatment for binge eating or for mental health problems related to the condition. It often is a family member or friend who convinces the person to seek treatment.

If you think that you or someone you know might have an eating disorder, talk to your doctor. Signs of an eating disorder that needs treatment include binge eating, concern or embarrassment about eating behaviors, secretive eating habits, preoccupation with weight or body image, or an unhealthy body weight because of eating problems.

Counseling

Several types of counseling can be useful in treating eating disorders.

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). This type of therapy can help you control the urge to binge eat, especially when combined with nutritional counseling and a weight-reduction program.1 CBT often deals with learning how to eat a balanced diet, because this is important to recovery. Forming more regular eating habits can help reduce binge eating.
  • Interpersonal therapyInterpersonal therapy. This type of therapy can help you examine any connection between your relationships, your emotional reactions to those relationships, and your symptoms of binge eating.
  • Dialectical behavior therapyDialectical behavior therapy. This approach focuses on helping you manage emotions. By coping better with life's challenges and your emotions, binge eating behaviors may decrease. This type of therapy helps reduce binge eating that is related to stress.

Medicine

Antidepressants sometimes are used in the treatment of binge eating disorder. They may reduce episodes of binge eating and they may help with related depression or anxiety.

Topiramate (Topamax), which is a medicine used to treat seizures and chronic pain, is sometimes used to reduce the urge to binge eat.

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