What Are the Treatments for Compulsive Eating Disorder?

What Are the Treatments for Compulsive Eating Disorder?

Compulsive overeating disorders are also called binge eating disorders. Compulsive overeating disorders affect two percent of all American adults. Fortunately, there are many ways to heal this eating disorder, including therapy, group support and medical treatment. A person in treatment for overeating needs a lot of support throughout his or her recovery process.

Compulsive eating disorders involve frequent occasions of uncontrollable, excessive eating, called binges. A binge eating episode usually lasts about two hours, but some people binge periodically throughout the day. Binge eaters consume food even when they're not hungry and continue to eat long after they are full. They feel extremely upset or distressed during or after their binge sessions but do not attempt to vomit, fast or over-exercise afterward (unlike people with the eating disorder bulimia).

According to the National Institutes of Health, two percent of U.S. adults have compulsive eating disorder---making compulsive overeating more common than the eating disorders anorexia and bulimia. Compulsive eating disorders also affect a significant number of men (unlike anorexia and bulimia). Most people don't seek help for compulsive overeating until the weight gain causes health problems.

There are many natural ways to treat compulsive eating disorders. Eat breakfast every morning to avoid overeating later in the day. Remove foods that tempt you to overeat from your house. Exercise and stress management techniques are also helpful. In addition to all these things, however, it is important to seek professional treatment. Health professionals who provide treatment for compulsive eating disorders include therapists, psychiatrists, nutritionists and obesity specialists. The goal of treatment is to reduce compulsive overeating and binge episodes. If obesity endangers your health, weight loss might be another goal. Dieting can contribute to binge eating, so you should see a treatment team to help monitor your weight loss efforts.

Therapy is one treatment option for compulsive overeaters. It can teach you how to fight the compulsion to overeat, develop healthier habits, monitor your eating and help you gain stress management skills. You may also find joining a support group helpful. Group therapy and support group sessions are led by trained health professionals. They provide the opportunity to reduce any feelings of loneliness or stigma you may have. Medications like antidepressants and appetite suppressants are another treatment option for compulsive eating disorders.

If someone you care about has a compulsive overeating disorder, it is important to keep in mind that you cannot force him or her to stop overeating. The cause of this eating disorder is often an attempt to escape from painful feelings that are certain to arise during the recovery process. Ongoing support from multiple sources is essential for your loved one to recover fully.