Binge Eating Disorder - Treatment

What types of treatment did you or a relative receive for a binge eating disorder?

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What is the treatment for binge eating disorder?

As with obese individuals without binge eating disorder, people with this illness tend to lose weight from adopting a low-calorie diet and some will regain weight in the long term. Medications that have been found to be effective in reducing the number and amount of binge episodes in binge eating disorder include topiramate (Topamax) which is used to treat seizures, as well as serotonergic (SSRI) medications that treat anxiety or depression, like fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine (Paxil), citalopram (Celexa), and escitalopram (Lexapro). Sibutramine (Meridia) is an appetite suppressant that has been found to help decrease binge eating and enhance weight loss. SSRIs tend to be well tolerated and have a low incidence of side effects like stomach upset, sleep problems, and sexual dysfunction. Topiramate was first used to treat seizures and is sometimes discontinued by patients because of daytime sleepiness, difficulty thinking, and poor coordination. Sibutramine's most common side effects include headache, constipation, stomach upset, insomnia, and painful menstrual periods. It's less common, more serious side effects include palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, and vomiting.

While psychotherapy alone does not tend to result in long-term weight loss in individuals with binge eating disorder, it can be a key component of the rehabilitation ("rehab") and recovery from the emotional problems that are often associated with this disorder. Two forms of psychotherapy that have been found to be effective in that regard include cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy. In cognitive behavioral therapy, the mental-health professional works to help the person with binge eating disorder identify, challenge, and decrease negative thinking and otherwise dysfunctional belief systems that trigger unwanted behaviors. The goal of interpersonal therapy tends to be identifying and managing problems the sufferer of binge eating disorder may have in his or her relationships with others.

Understanding and addressing how to treat other mental-health problems that might co-occur with binge eating disorder are important aspects of overcoming this illness. For example, as about 57% of men and 28% of women with binge eating disorder also suffer from a substance-use disorder, treating both problems will enhance the successful recovery from each illness.

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