What is Binge Eating Disorder?

Binge eating disorder (BED) is a disease characterized by ongoing episodes of binge eating (or eating large amounts of food in a short time) and there is binge eating disorder treatment available. Those with binge-eating disorder frequently feel out of control around food, and eat to the point of feeling physically uncomfortable.  Additionally, many experience shame and/or guilt following a binge.  Binge-eating disorder is different from bulimia in that there is no compensatory behavior to counter the binge.  Binge-eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the United States today. While this is a serious and potentially life-threatening disease, it is treatable, and there are options for binge eating disorder treatment. At HPA/LiveWell in Albany, New York, we strive to educate the public on this eating disorder and the various treatment options available.

Binge Eating Disorder Treatment

Effective binge eating disorder treatment addresses not only the binge eating behavior but also the underlying cause(s) of that behavior. Treatment for BED usually includes some form of psychotherapy, and sometimes, prescribed medication.

Psychotherapy

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – this approach to binge eating disorder treatment is evidence-based and focused on how one’s thoughts affect emotions and behaviors. CBT aims to identify the negative or “unhelpful” thoughts, and challenging and changing those thoughts.  Cognitive-behavioral therapy for binge eating disorder also incorporates skills to help manage the urges to binge and engage in healthier behaviors.
  • Family Therapy – although family therapy isn’t always considered in binge eating disorder treatment, it can be helpful to some individual’s recovery. Family therapy offers support not only to the person with binge eating disorder, but also to his or her family members. Family therapy typically incorporates education, communication skills, conflict resolution, and a safe space to share.

Medication

  • Vyvanse – this is the first FDA-approved medication for adults to use in binge eating disorder treatment. Studies show significant decrease in episodes of binge eating in patients who took this medication.
  • Antidepressants – this class of medication targets chemicals in the brain associated with mood regulation. Although not specifically approved for use in binge eating disorder treatment, boosting mood may help decrease bingeing behaviors.
  • Topamax (Topiramate) – an anti-seizure drug, Topamax may be more helpful in stopping binges than antidepressants. Unfortunately, there are some serious side effects associated with Topamax, including memory and vision problems.

Nutrition Counseling

Binge eating disorder treatment includes a collaboration of various medical and mental health professionals (i.e. – therapist/counselor, psychiatrist, medical doctor).  In addition to these professionals, treatment typically involves a registered dietitian as well. Dietitians work with individuals with binge eating disorder to improve on the relationship with food, decrease bingeing behaviors, and maintain a balanced, healthy diet.

Please call HPA/LiveWell in Albany, NY at 518-218-1188 or in Poughkeepsie, NY at 845-372-4367 for more information regarding binge eating disorder treatment.

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