Treatment for Binge Eating Disorder

By John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Medications

While many medications may be prescribed for symptoms related to binge eating disorder, only Fluoxetine (brand name: Prozac) has approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of binge eating disorder nervosa. This medication has been found to decrease the number of episodes of binging, as well the desire to vomit, in people with moderate to severe binge eating disorder.

As of now, medications such as Fluoxetine (Prozac), Sertraline (Zoloft), Paroxetine (Paxil) — which are approved for depression and obsessive compulsive disorder — may help the person with binge eating disorder have less depressed feelings, as well as be less obsessed with food and their weight.

At appropriate doses (similar to those used for OCD treatment), antidepressants have been found to decrease the strength of urges to binge for some individuals. Individuals with a positive response to these medications have reported a lessening of their carbohydrate cravings, which appears to help prevent binging.

Residential Treatment Facilities for Binge Eating Disorder

Residential treatment facilities offer a complete array of treatment services in one place.

One place where all of the above treatment options are available is called a residential treatment center. Such treatment centers are located throughout the United States and in many other countries as well, and focus on the treatment of all the different types of eating disorders (including binge eating disorder). Such facilities usually include a wide range of specialists — psychologists, medical doctors, nutritionists, meditation and relaxation professionals, and fitness experts. They help a person learn all of the skills necessary (through the cognitive-behavioral techniques outlined above), and put them into daily practice in a safe, relaxed setting.

Often these kinds of treatments may be paid for by an individual’s private health insurance, for up to a certain period of time (often 30 days). Check with your health insurance provide to see if such coverage is available for you.

Self-Help for Binge Eating Disorder

There are a variety of self-help methods available for eating disorders, including binge eating disorder. Self-help support groups are a great way of getting emotional support while trying to make changes in one’s life to support a healthier self-image and eating behaviors. Self-help books on binge eating disorder can be a great place to start to gain some insights and tips on changing one’s self-image and disordered eating.

Since many people with binge eating disorder use food as a coping skill for dealing with negative emotions, finding other, healthier coping skills may be a good place to start.

Our positive self-image and eating issues blog Weightless is a great place to find more tips on improving your coping skills and self-image. However, you can also start with these tips about how to improve your body image from the Something Fishy website:

  • Wear clothes you feel comfortable in – Dress to express yourself, not to impress others. You should feel good in what you wear.
  • Stay away from the scale – If your weight needs to be monitored, leave that up to the doctors. How much you weigh should never affect your self-esteem.
  • Stay away from fashion magazines – Unless you can look through these magazines knowing they are purely fantasy, it’s just better to stay away from them.
  • Do nice things for your body – Get a massage, a manicure, or a facial. Pamper yourself with a candlelight bath, scented lotion, or a new perfume.
  • Stay active – Movement therapy helps improve your sense of wellbeing. Take up Yoga or Tai’ Chi, play volleyball with the kids, or bike ride with friends. Make angels in the snow or sandcastles at the beach. Be active and enjoy life!

 

APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2006). Treatment for Binge Eating Disorder. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/treatment-for-binge-eating-disorder/00096
Scientifically Reviewed
    Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Jan 2013
    Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.