There are many treatment options for binge eating disorders. The right approach for each individual depends on his or her specific symptoms, issues, and strengths, as well as the severity of the disorder. To be most effective, treatment for an eating disorder must address both the physical and psychological aspects of the problem. The goal is to treat any medical or nutritional needs, promote a healthy relationship with food, and teach constructive ways to cope with life and its challenges.
Often, a combination of therapy, nutritional counseling, and group support works best. In some cases, residential treatment or hospitalization may be necessary.
Individual and group therapy can help your loved one explore the issues underlying the eating disorder, improve self-esteem, and learn healthy ways of responding to stress and emotional pain. Family therapy is also effective for dealing with the impact the eating disorder has on the entire family unit.
Dietitians or nutritionists are often involved in the treatment of eating disorders. They can help your loved one design meal plans, set dietary goals, and achieve a healthy weight. Nutritional counseling may also involve education about basic nutrition and the health consequences of eating disorders.
Attending an eating disorder support group can help your loved one feel less alone and ashamed. Run by peers rather than professionals, support groups provide a safe environment to share experiences, advice, encouragement, and coping strategies.
Residential or hospital-based care may be required when there are severe physical or behavioral problems, such as a resistance to treatment, medical issues that require a doctor’s supervision, or continuing weight loss.
There’s no medication specifically designed to treat binge-eating disorder. But, several types of medication have been found to be helpful in reducing the symptoms of binge-eating disorder. Combining therapy with medications may be more effective than either treatment alone. The types of medications that may be helpful for binge-eating disorder including antidepressants and the anticonvulsant topiramate (Topamax). However, it can cause serious side effects, including a numb, burning or tingling sensation, and trouble in thinking.