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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 engaging in regular exercise, and some will regain weight in the long term. While considered adjunctive rather than primary forms of treatment, home remedies like meditation may help reduce the frequency and severity of binge eating disorder symptoms, thereby decreasing the impact of those symptoms on the self-rating scale.

Medications that have been found to be effective in reducing the number and amount of binge episodes in binge eating disorder include lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse), which is used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat binge eating disorder, topiramate (Topamax), which is used to treat seizures, as well as serotonergic (SSRI) medications that treat anxiety (antianxiety medications) or depression (antidepressants), like fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine (Paxil), citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), vortioxetine (Brintellix), and vilazodone (Viibryd). 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 stopped 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. Less common, more serious side effects of sibutramine 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 part 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 (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (ITP). In cognitive behavioral therapy, the mental-health practitioner works to help the person with binge eating disorder identify, challenge, and decrease negative thinking and otherwise dysfunctional belief systems that precipitate unwanted behaviors. Dialectical behavior therapy, which is a specific form of cognitive behavioral therapy that focuses on emotional regulation, has also been found to be an effective means of increasing the length of time between binge episodes (for example, binge abstinence) in preliminary studies. 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. Participation in one of a number of self-help support groups, like Overeaters Anonymous or Eating Disorders Anonymous, can also be an important part of managing this condition.

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 have a substance-use disorder, treating both problems will enhance the successful recovery from each illness.

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