If you have episodes where you consume a large amount of food in short bursts and feel like you are unable to stop, you may want to talk with your doctor about binge eating disorder (BED). BED is a type of eating disorder that can lead to obesity, chronic pain, diabetes, or hypertension if left untreated. People with BED may feel depressed, eat alone or in secret, or eat until they feel sick. Thankfully, there are treatment options that can help treat this compulsion.


One study found that medications, along with therapy, could help people reduce the urge to binge eat and help adults lose weight if BED had caused weight gain. Some doctors might recommend a medication like Lisdexamfetamine, which is a stimulant used for ADHD that can also be used to suppress the appetite. If a binge eating disorder is caused by mental distress, like anxiety or depression, then an anti-depressant might be recommended. It's important to consult with your doctor about these types of medications since they may have side effects that negate their benefits for BED.


BED is often exacerbated by external stressors, so counseling can be beneficial since your therapist can help you identify triggers that can set off binge episodes. Your therapist can teach you breathing techniques and mindfulness techniques so that you can work through difficult triggers. They can help you track your moods and thoughts and help you modify behaviors. For example, a lot of people with BED may have a binge episode to comfort themselves due to anxiety, bad memories, or even boredom. Your therapist might recommend resolving this comfort tactic by reaching out to friends or planning activities or hobbies that bring you joy. If you have any trigger foods, then your therapist may recommend that a friend or family member go with you during grocery trips so that you can fill your home with healthy foods that don't encourage binge episodes.

Weight-Loss Programs

If BED has already affected your health enough that you need to lose weight, your doctor may recommend a weight-loss program. However, keep in mind that weight-loss programs are usually recommended after you have received counseling. It's hard to lose weight if you aren't in the right mindset or are still dealing with triggers. Your therapist can help you work on a weight-loss program, or your doctor may recommend a dietitian to help you with a meal plan. Instead of having giant binge sessions, you'll learn to eat smaller meals throughout the day so that you can avoid low blood sugar levels and a growling stomach. Your weight-loss program might require you to keep a food journal and an exercise journal to make sure that you are getting the right nutrients and losing weight at a reasonable pace.

Reach out to a medical professional in your area to learn more about treatment options for BED and other eating disorders.

Contact your doctor for more information on treatment options for eating disorders.