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Eating disorder experts focus treatment around the distorted attitudes that those with BED have in regard to eating, weight and shape.  They also focus on the mood related symptoms such as anxiety or depression (American Psychological Association, 2010).  Treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy are commonly used (Mayo Clinic, 2010).  The goal is to improve self-esteem, increase body acceptance and treat any mood-related symptoms. 

By treating the underlying problems, it is believed that it will be more likely that the individual will more easily be able to learn to reduce or eliminate the binge behavior (American Psychological Association, 2010).

  However, obesity experts believe that it is best  to first tackle the weight problem because it is less time consuming and less expensive that is treating psychological issues (American Psychological Association, 2010).   They maintain that behavioral weight loss treatments and calorie reduced diets will lead to a decrease in binge eating (White et al, 2009).  Although many experts reject this idea because of the belief that extreme caloric reduction may induce further binge behavior.

Antidepressants are sometimes prescribed in for individuals with BED, although no known medications exist that are specifically designed to treat the disorder (Mayo Clinic, 2010).  They have been known, however, to treat some underlying issues such as depression or anxiety, which, in turn, decreases binge behavior.  Anticonvulsant topiramate (Topomax) which is normally prescribed to control seizures has also been found to decrease binge behavior, but there can be serious side effects such as numbness, or a burning and tingling sensation (Maya Clinic, 2010).

In regard to treatment, preventative intervention should also be mentioned.  The main eating disorder among obese people is BED.  Both obesity and BED create a high public health burden, not to mention a decreased quality of life and increased use of health services for those who are affected by it (Darby et al, 2008).  Therefore many experts feel that education for young women is key in the prevention of the disorder, and should include such things as information regarding healthy eating habits, well-balance diet and intake, importance of physical activity and the importance of a healthy body image and self-esteem (Darby et al, 2008).

Anthony Centore

Anthony Centore

Anthony Centore Ph.D. is Founder and CEO at Thriveworks--a counseling practice, focused on premium client care, with 80+ locations across the USA. He is Private Practice Consultant for the American Counseling Association, columnist for Counseling Today magazine, and Author of How to Thrive in Counseling Private Practice. Anthony is a multistate Licensed Professional Counselor and has been quoted in national media sources including The Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, and CBS Sunday Morning.

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