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Eating Disorders and Depression

Tailoring Treatment to Your Needs continued...

Especially for bulimia and binge eating, a combination of CBT and medication may work best. In a study of 30 patients with binge eating disorder, for instance, researchers at Sacco Hospital in Milan, Italy, found that those receiving both CBT and a combination of drugs, including setraline and Topamax, reduced their bingeing behaviors and lost weight.

Tailoring treatments to patients is essential. “Some people are receptive to medication,” Sacker says. “Others aren’t. Some people do well with nutritional counseling. Others need intensive counseling to change the way they think about eating and food. Treatment is often a matter of trial and error.” Indeed, researchers are testing a variety of cognitive behavioral therapies specifically designed for eating disorders.

Finding Help for Eating Disorders and Depression

There is no magic bullet for treating eating disorders coupled with depression. Even intensive research treatment programs have a high drop rate. Patients who do well for a period of time often relapse.

“Still, there’s a lot that we can do to treat underlying depression and change the way people think about themselves and their relationship to food,” Sacker says. The first step is finding a psychiatrist or psychologist with extensive experience in treating eating disorders, experts agree. After that, success depends on a patient’s willingness to change.

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Reviewed on July 16, 2010

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