In 2013, The American Psychiatric Association determined Binge Eating Disorder, or BED, to be a genuine illness that merited inclusion in its official diagnostic manual called the DSM-5. Since then, there have been a few notable treatment advancements that have provided sufferers with relief from this agonizing condition.
The signs and symptoms of BED are very specific, differing from other eating-related conditions such as food addiction. Because BED is clinical in nature, researchers have pursued approaches similar to those of other mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety.
The first treatment approach that has demonstrated measurable improvements in controlling BED is cognitive behavioral therapy. This method aims to dig up the emotional roots driving the patient’s bingeing behavior. Once they are brought to light, behavioral therapy enables the sufferer to confront and resolve them in a constructive way. In a study out of the University of North Carolina Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders, participants who experienced behavioral therapy were five times more likely to resist bingeing episodes compared to those who did not receive the therapy.
The second treatment approach showing promising results involve prescription medication. In the same University of North Carolina research study, participants taking anti-depressants such as SSRIs and SNRIs were 67% less likely to binge. Likewise, participants taking another medication called Vyvanse, the first and currently only drug approved for BED treatment, were 2.5 more likely to reduce bingeing behavior.
As with treatment of depression and anxiety, a combination of behavioral and pharmaceutical therapies might prove to be enhance the effectiveness of treatment for Binge Eating Disorder.
As with any diagnosed health condition, the most important things you can do are gather as much fact-based information about it as you can and then form an action plan that is personalized for you. Binge eating does not have to control your life. Thanks to these new advancements, you have more treatment options than ever.