Binge eating disorder is a severe eating problem that causes various physical and psychological complications without the patient’s good consciousness of the condition. Medication is one of the primary treatment options for this abnormal eating behavior. Read on to learn more about binge eating disorder medication.
What Medications Are Available to Treat Binge Eating Disorder?
What Is Binge Eating Disorder?
Binge eating disorder is a type of eating disorder characterized by frequent overeating in excessive amounts and the inability to control eating behavior. It is a severe medical problem that may lead to long-term health complications such as obesity or heart disease if left untreated. Binge eating disorder may begin as unconsciously consuming more food than usual, then worsening to the point where the person loses control over their diet.
People with binge eating disorders commonly keep secrets about their unhealthy eating patterns. Therefore, it is sometimes challenging to notice the first signs and symptoms. However, confirming a binge eating disorder diagnosis requires investigating beyond the superficial, i.e., weight and appearance. Most people with the condition are overweight or obese, but some can have a standard body shape.
Some behavioral and emotional signs and symptoms of binge eating disorder include:
- Eating excessive amounts of food
- Losing control over eating behavior
- Eating despite satiety until feeling sick in the stomach
- Eating rapidly or in secret
- Feeling guilty or depressed after eating
- Making unsuccessful attempts to lose weight
What Causes Binge Eating Disorder?
The exact cause of binge eating disorder is still not fully understood. However, scientists attribute the condition to psychological and physiological risk factors such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and drug abuse. Although anyone can be affected, women tend to develop binge eating disorders. People in their late teens or early 20s often have the first signs and symptoms of the condition.
Some risk factors that can increase your chance of developing binge eating disorder include:
- Family history: People with a family member having an eating disorder may also develop the condition.
- Dieting history: People with a history of failed diets have an increased chance of developing an eating disorder.
- Psychological issues: People suffering from emotional challenges due to adverse situations may be triggered to develop abnormal eating behavior.
When Is Medication Used?
Eating disorder treatment aims to habituate eating behaviors by applying different strategies. Doctors might prescribe medication alone or in conjunction with other therapies if the initial dietary counseling is not working.
If you might have a binge eating disorder, the first step you need to take is to receive a diagnosis. Doctors will examine your overall condition by giving you a physical test and inquire about your eating patterns, emotional health, body image, and family history.
Binge eating disorder may coincide with other psychological problems like depression or anxiety. Taking medications might help with your abnormal eating by curbing such mental issues.
Types of Medication
Vyvanse is the only FDA-approved medication for treating binge eating disorders. As a stimulant drug, Vyvanse controls the compulsive urge for food. Taking Vyvanse may result in a reduction in the frequency of binge eating.
However, Vyvanse may cause several potential side effects, including nausea, vomiting, gastrointestinal problems, sleep difficulty, anxiety, and restlessness. Consult with your doctor before starting the medication.
Since psychological problems like depression often accompany binge eating disorders, antidepressants may also help. Antidepressants help regulate brain chemicals that control mood, leading to improved eating habits.
Weight Loss Medication
Weight loss medications might also help improve binge eating disorders, given that many people with these disorders are also overweight. Although doctors do not usually prescribe these medications, people might receive off-label drugs, which is acceptable in some situations.
Typically, treating binge eating disorder with medication lasts around three months. However, whether the medicine continues to produce long-term effects after discontinuation is not fully known.
Besides medication, other treatment strategies include:
- Nutrition counseling
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Solution-focused therapy
Binge eating disorder can be a perpetual cycle because the more you are caught up in binge eating, the more you feel depressed and rely on it. The first step to overcoming an eating disorder is getting a diagnosis after noticing the early signs and symptoms. Remember that binge eating disorder is curable with the appropriate treatment and support.
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