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Binge eating disorder (BED) is one of the most common eating disorders in the United States. Affecting 3.5 percent of women, 2 percent of men, and approximately 1.6 percent of young adults, the disorder presents several challenges in daily life, making treatment essential. Nevertheless, surveys suggest that only 43.6 percent of people with this order receive treatment at some point in life.

Characterized by repeated episodes of heavy eating in the absence of compensatory behaviors, binge eating disorder has only been officially acknowledged by the DSM-5 recently in 2013. As such, its knowledge lags behind that of the more popular eating disorders, like anorexia and bulimia nervosa. This lack of awareness is also one of the reasons why individuals suffering from BED never seek professional help or truly understand how to treat this disorder.

Binge eating disorder (BED) Luxury Treatment

Medical treatment is beneficial for patients with BED who present with unstable physical parameters. A medical doctor handles the treatment with specific training in treating different types of eating disorders. The goal is to identify and address all potential medical issues and complications arising from binge eating disorder.

According to the Critical Points for Early Recognition and Medical Risk Management in the Care of Individuals with Eating Disorders guidelines by the Academy for Eating Disorders, medical treatment for BED includes:

  • Monitoring vital signs
  • Weight tracking and laboratory testing
  • Additional testing to determine bone density and heart function
  • Management of all physical symptoms, including heart problems and gastrointestinal distress

The initial and most crucial step for treating binge eating disorder involves reparation for the lost health and weight by normalizing food intake and associated behaviors. For this purpose, experts may use nutritional therapy under the supervision of a registered dietician. This therapy involves a detailed assessment of an individual’s current nutritional status, food preferences, and medical needs. Following this, the dietician collaborates with patients to develop a meal plan that adequately addresses their nutrition while providing graded exposure to their feared foods to increase flexibility.

So far, the best psychological treatment for eating disorders is cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT. CBT has proven extremely effective in treating bulimia nervosa, BED, anorexia nervosa, and other eating disorders. CBT tends to focus on addressing the symptoms and behavioral changes associated with binge eating disorder through the following key elements:

  • Meal planning
  • Self-monitoring, for example, through a food diary
  • Addressing over-evaluation of weight and shape
  • Relapse prevention
  • Exposure to forbidden food
  • Addressing negative body image
  • Establishment of regular eating
  • Challenging dietary rules
  • Disruption of dangerous behaviors, such as binge eating, dieting, and any compensatory mechanisms
  • Other types of psychotherapies that can prove effective in BED management include:
  • Interpersonal therapy
  • Cognitive remediation therapy
  • Integrative cognitive-affective therapy
  • Acceptance and commitment therapy
  • Mindfulness-based eating awareness training
  • Special supportive clinical management

Lisdexamfetaminedimesylate, or LDX, is the only FDA-approved medication to manage binge eating disorder. As a stimulant, experts often prescribe LDX to patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Like any pharmaceutical medication, LDX comes with its own potential side effects; hence, it is important for a healthcare provider to balance its pros and cons. For example, a doctor may carefully assess whether you are at risk for stroke or suffer from heart problems.  Some common side effects of LDX include nausea, vomiting, and gastrointestinal distress. Because of its stimulant nature, the medication may also cause some people jitteriness, restlessness, anxiety, and insomnia.

Other medications used for binge eating disorder treatment are off-label since they do not hold approval for managing BED from a relevant regulatory authority. Some of these medications include weight loss pills since many BED patients have obesity, and one of their long-term treatment goals is shedding all extra body weight.

A professional rehab is the best place to learn how to treat binge eating disorder effectively while minimizing the chances of recovery. While there are different types of eating disorders treatment facilities working across the United States, most of them operate on the following levels of care:

Residential Treatment

Also known as inpatient treatment, this type of recovery program is for residents who are medically stable but require the help and support of staff round-the-clock.

Extended Day Treatment Program

This includes up to 12 hours of individualized treatment for binge eating disorder for patients who present with severely impaired functioning.

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

As a less intense form of treatment than residential programs, PHP offers BED patients a place to practice real-life skills that they acquired in the previous level of care. It may serve as an entry point or a step down from a more intensive treatment program.

Intensive Outpatient Program

This level of care provides a step-up in supporting those struggling with BED or a step down for those transitioning from a more intensive treatment program

Regardless of the type of rehab or the level of care an individual opts for to receive BED treatment, achieving recovery requires a collaborative effort from the patient’s end. There are multiple things experts recommend patients must do to improve treatment outcomes. These strategies include:

Paying attention to hunger cues

Eat only when you truly feel hungry. Pay attention to hunger cues, such as lightheadedness, a growling stomach, and irritability. Delaying eating to the point of starvation is one of the biggest risk factors that trigger binge eating.

Get rid of trigger foods

Most people suffering from binge eating disorder have specific foods that trigger their binge episodes. For instance, some might find it difficult to resist cookies, while others may be tempted to keep savoring noodles. If such is the case with you, get rid of all trigger foods from the house. If someone else wishes to keep them, explain how it would harm them or ask them to keep it out of your sight.

Identify triggers

Try identifying triggers that force you to binge eat and avoid them as much as possible. For instance, some people are more likely to indulge in binge eating when they visit buffet-style restaurants and can benefit by avoiding going there. For others, food-related social interactions might serve as a trigger. You may work with your therapist as a part of your inpatient or outpatient binge eating disorder treatment rehab to identify these triggers in a much better way.

Practice mindful eating

Try your best not to indulge in any other activity while you are eating, such as watching television, reading, or working. Pay attention to the food you eat and be mindful of the quantities you consume. Avoid eating when you feel bored, as boredom also leads to BED episodes.

Keep a food journal

Keeping a food journal can provide help with binge eating disorder for many. Use this journal to write down every food item you consume during the day. Maintaining this journal can help you hold yourself accountable and practice vigilance in the future. You may also consider reporting your weekly food intake to a family member or a friend to increase accountability.

Plan your meals

Building a healthy meal plan is one of the best tips to stop binge eating. As a part of inpatient or outpatient treatment, you can get in touch with an onsite nutritionist to devise a meal plan that is nutritious and healthy but does not leave you feeling deprived at the same time. If you are planning to join a luxury binge eating disorder treatment center, you may also get access to a personal chef who can cater to your meal plans in a better way as you focus on other aspects of recovery.

Stay Active

Many inpatient rehabilitation centers for eating disorders come with a fitness center or an onsite gym to promote wellness in their clients. Try to visit it every day and spend time working out to keep up your activity levels. If you seek outpatient binge eating therapy or are enrolled in a PHP, consider joining a gym outside your treatment program.

Stay hydrated

Make it a habit to drink plenty of water every day. A typical binge-eating diet usually involves a lot of sugar and salt, which can dehydrate the body. The resultant thirst can also be mistaken for hunger and trigger binge eating.

Avoid using a weighing scale

Avoid attempting to check your body weight on your own. Your treatment provider at the rehab will help you with it under their supervision when the time is right. Attempting to check your weight too often or on your own can interfere with the ongoing recovery process.

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