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Binge Eating Disorder: 6 Treatment Recommendations

No one but you and your doctor or therapist should decide on what treatment best meets your needs - because with eating disorders, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions.

That being said, there are treatment approaches which tend to work better than others and there are certain interventions in the clinical toolbox that make more sense when starting off with binge eating disorder treatment.

So as a very general guidebook to get you started in thinking about your options and about what makes the most sense, here are 6 binge eating disorder treatment recommendations from the experts at the National Eating Disorders Association. 

Binge Eating Disorder: Treatment Recommendations1

1. If you haven't tried anything yet, the first thing you should consider trying is an evidence based binge eating disorder self-help program.

2. While trying a self-help program, you should talk to your primary care doctor (family doctor or other) about what you're dealing with and what you're doing to try to improve the situation. Your doctor may offer support or encouragement, such as regular monitoring or advice, and research shows that this improves your chances of success. For some people, a self-help program augmented with some minimal professional oversight results in substantial improvements.

3. As an alternative or augment to a self-help program, you may want to consider trying an antidepressant. Some people find that antidepressants help to reduce the frequency of bingeing and purging and when they work they tend to show results fairly quickly. Talk to your doctor about the pros and cons of antidepressant treatment.

4. When self-help alone is insufficient, adults should consider a specialized type of cognitive behavioral therapy that has been developed for binge eating disorder, called CBT-BED. Adolescents will also benefit from CBT-BED but it must be adapted to the maturity and development of the client. In many cases with adolescent clients, family needs to get involved in the process.

5. When CBT-BED doesn't result in sufficient symptoms reduction, you should consider trying other types of psychotherapies, such as dialectic behavioral therapy or interpersonal psychotherapy.

6. Since psychological interventions for binge eating disorder won't have much of an immediate impact on body weight, if you are obese, you should pursue weight loss through other channels. You doctor can refer you to bariatric specialists who can assist you with weight loss, if needed.

If you need help, get it soon, because eating disorder treatments work and once you get started you'll likely see a reduction in your symptoms and an improvement in your quality of life - and because the sooner you initiate eating disorder treatment, the better your ultimate prognosis.

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