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There May Be a Pill to Treat Binge Eating Disorder

There May Be a Pill to Treat Binge Eating Disorder

A recent study has found that a drug, usually used to treat ADHD, could also be effective in combating binge-eating disorders

This medicinal treatment could open the door for pills to cure other eating disorders.

Previously, eating disorders like binge eating disorder (the uncontrollable urge to repeatedly eat an excessive amount of food without a sense of control), have been treated mainly through forms of therapy and occasionally with epilepsy medication. But a recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry has found that the drug lisdexamfetamine dimesylate (more commonly used to treat ADHD in children and adults), could actually be useful in treating binge eating disorder.

When people participating in the study took the drug every day for 14 weeks, half of the 260 patients stopped binge eating completely, and most of the other participants were also affected by the drug. The correlation between ADHD and binge eating disorder lies in the reward center of the brain. According to Time, people with binge eating disorder and ADHD both have trouble with impulse control, and this is exactly the part of the brain that Vyvnase (the common name for the medicine) targets.

But how effective would the drug be in the long term?

"To my mind, psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavior therapy, is preferable as it aims to help patients develop the crucial skills they need to better handle all the triggers in our environment that may otherwise pull them into a cycle of excessive eating," Dr. Suzanne Mazzeo, a professor of psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University, told CBS.

Either way, researchers claim that more study is needed before Vyvnase can be marketed as a binge eating disorder treatment.

“Before I was diagnosed, I didn't even know that B.E.D. existed.”

During the last 3 months, did you have any episodes of excessive overeating—such as, eating significantly more than most people would eat under similar circumstances?

This doesn’t necessarily mean you have B.E.D., or that Vyvanse is right for your specific situation. It means filling out the rest of the Doctor Discussion Guide can help you and your doctor begin to understand how B.E.D. symptoms might be impacting your life. Only your doctor or another trained healthcare provider can diagnose B.E.D.

People with B.E.D. typically answer "yes" to this question. If you have questions or concerns about your relationship with food, or about B.E.D., please talk with your doctor. In the meantime, you might find it helpful to connect with additional support.

Before going on medication for binge eating disorder, it’s important to speak with your doctor about your health history and other medications you may be taking. Since binge eating disorder is often rooted in psychological and behavioral patterns, medication is only a temporary solution that cannot holistically treat the condition for long-term success.

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Skills, Not Pills to Treat Binge Eating Disorder

You may have already seen the ads for Vyvanse, the new FDA-approved drug for the treatment of binge eating disorder. Vyvanse was originally marketed for the treatment of ADHD, but Shire Pharmaceuticals, the drug's manufacturer, is now promoting it as "an effective option to help curb episodes of binge eating."

Binge eating disorder (BED) is the most widespread of all eating disorders and affects 1% to 5% of Americans. For years it was classified as a medical condition. But in 2013 the authors of DSM-V saw the light and classified BED as an eating disorder.

Psychological variables such as low self-esteem, depression and anxiety can trigger BED. Genetic predisposition, a close relative with an eating disorder or drug addiction or the metabolic disturbances caused from chronic dieting can also be contributing factors.

When people have BED, they frequently act impulsively. They feel ineffective and alienated and may be haunted by perfectionism. Individuals with BED are at higher risk of developing other illnesses, including anxiety disorder, cardiovascular symptoms, chronic fatigue, depression, infectious diseases and insomnia.

In today's world of big pharma, it seems like there's a pill for every illness. Clients who suffer from depression or anxiety seasoned with PTSD and substance abuse often arrive at Mirasol with a suitcase full of medications. But at Mirasol, we believe in "skills, not pills". In 16 years of treating binge eating disorders and co-occurring conditions, we have found that a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, nutrition counseling and alternative therapies is far more effective than psychotropic medications.

Time will tell whether Vyvanse lives up to the manufacturer's claims. It's worth noting that in 2014, Shire paid more than $50 million to settle a claims that it had engaged in illegal marketing tactics, including marketing Vyvanse for unapproved, off-label uses and falsely representing its safety.

FDA Approves ADHD Drug to Treat Binge Eating

The Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of an attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder drug to treat binge eating.

The drug, Vyvanse, is usually used for ADHD but it’s been shown to help control binge-eating disorder, the FDA said.

“In binge-eating disorder, patients have recurrent episodes of compulsive overeating during which they consume larger amounts of food than normal and experience the sense that they lack control. Patients with this condition eat when they are not hungry and often eat to the point of being uncomfortably full,” the FDA said in a statement.

“Patients may feel ashamed and embarrassed by how much they are eating, which can result in social isolation. Binge-eating disorder may lead to weight gain and to health problems related to obesity.”

The drug is not approved for weight loss, and it’s a Schedule II controlled substance because it has high potential for abuse and dependence. But any doctor can write a prescription for any approved drug for any use he or she sees fit.

"The concern in our country especially is the desperation to lose weight," said NBC's diet and nutrition editor Madelyn Fernstrom. "Everyone will say, 'Oh, I have binge eating disorder'. I think there’s a huge potential for abuse in our country."

Types of Treatment for Binge Eating Disorder Recovery

At binge eating treatment centers, people can follow various paths to becoming recovered. Depending on their care needs, they may either enter residential treatment programs or day treatment services. Within those types of care, there are many levels individuals can work through to achieve recovery.

Residential Programs

Residential treatment programs provide home-like settings where patients can focus solely on their recovery. Each patient receives targeted treatment from a full team of care professionals, including doctors, dietitians and psychiatrists. Each week, people have regular medical assessments and psychiatry appointments to keep a close eye on all underlying conditions and their overall state of wellbeing.

They also attend individual, family and group binge eating therapy to build skills and learn how to cope in healthy ways. Daily group therapy sessions revolve around therapy models designed to treat binge eating disorder. Some of the most effective therapies for this condition include art therapy, dialectical behavioral skills and interpersonal process. They will also meet with a dietitian on a regular basis to rebuild their relationship with food and learn how to appropriately regulate their own intake.

Residential programs provide an immersive treatment experience that allows people to address their challenges in real time. They can immediately acquire insights and support from their care team and peers at the treatment center when these challenges arise. This level of attention keeps small issues from escalating and causing setbacks in the treatment process. As people start to develop accountability and independence in managing their own care, they may transition to a day treatment level of care.

Day Treatment

Day treatment programs build upon the residential treatment model to help individuals transition back to a regular schedule. Day treatment for binge eating disorder recovery is often available on an outpatient or partial hospitalization basis. This stage of treatment focuses on building each client’s level of independence and ability to manage their eating disorder. Individuals continue to build life skills and learn how to integrate self-care routines into their lives while working through the day treatment program.

Individuals continue to develop their relationship with food and increase their comfort during mealtimes. They also learn how to effectively plan and prepare their meals while addressing the triggers and other factors that can cause challenges to arise. The day treatment environment encourages people to ramp up their daily exposure therapy exercises. Through these exposure activities, people can test their ability to handle real-life challenges while remaining on the path to recovery from binge eating disorder. Each outing offers opportunities to build and strengthen skills that can help keep disordered thoughts and behaviors from returning.

As they navigate the real world, clients can practice their coping skills and return to address their challenges with their binge eating disorder recovery specialist. Binge eating therapy can offer ways to cope with the challenges while keeping the risk of relapse to a minimum. By addressing these challenges, individuals can gain confidence, independence and accountability, which all support recovery upon transitioning out of the treatment center.

Supportive Treatment Elements for Individuals

A combination of supportive elements makes up each patient’s binge eating disorder treatment plan. These elements directly respond to the patient’s need for eating disorder treatment, medical care and psychiatric support. Here are several treatment elements that can help people who want to achieve binge eating disorder recovery.

Care for All Co-Occurring Conditions

Effective binge eating treatment centers offer care for all co-occurring conditions affecting their clients. If left untreated, these conditions can complicate the binge eating disorder recovery process. Through the concurrent treatment of all co-existing conditions, it is possible to remove many of the barriers to recovery that individuals may otherwise face. Individuals can work toward eating disorder recovery with purpose when they have the right level of care. The management of all co-occurring conditions must continue after transitioning out of care as well.

Nutrition Support

Eating disorder therapists provide all clients with nutrition support services. Dietitians and other care professionals may collaborate on helping these clients learn how to manage their food intake without worry. They may offer meal support by using the mealtimes as helpful group therapy sessions, which allows individuals to address their challenges in the moment. Therapists also provide guidance through binge eating therapy sessions, cooking classes and daily exposure exercises.
Daily Exposure Therapy

People in binge eating disorder counseling can face their fears and strengthen their skills with daily exposure therapy. These everyday activities require individuals to make an honest assessment of their challenges and work through each one. During these activities, people address trigger situations that cause distress and purposefully face them by using coping skills learned in therapy.

Binge Eating Counseling

Binge eating counseling remains an important part of the eating disorder treatment process. The counseling sessions focus on improving life skills and coping skills through targeted discussions and activities. Individuals can attend counseling as a group with their peers, on their own or with their family members. There are many different types of binge eating therapy models used to treat this condition and help people become fully recovered.

Effective Types of Binge Eating Counseling

Individuals have access to many effective binge eating therapy models while in outpatient or inpatient eating disorder treatment. With the targeted use of each therapy model, eating disorder therapists can help their clients build an entire toolkit of effective coping skills. These sessions also help individuals address the underlying issues that may have spurred the development of binge eating disorder symptoms.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy allows for the replacement of disordered thought patterns and behaviors with healthier alternatives. The therapy process centers around people facing their fears and exposing themselves to triggers. They utilize their list of coping techniques to work through the distress and minimize the impact of those situations. After each exposure session, eating disorder therapists help their clients process the information and strategize for the next session.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Through dialectical behavior therapy, people can build a strong toolbox full of adaptive coping skills. Each binge eating therapy session based on this model focuses on the introduction of helpful skills and practice exercises. The skill-building activities may revolve around mindfulness training, interpersonal relationship management, emotional regulation and tolerance for distress. By addressing these four areas, it is possible to give people with binge eating disorder the tools they need to become and remain recovered.

Mindfulness Training

For additional support in building this skill, individuals may undergo mindfulness training with help from their eating disorder therapist. The mindfulness training sessions tend to use meditation as a way to engage with inner thoughts and feelings. Once individuals can tap into those sensations on demand, they can practice mindfulness in everyday situations. This skill requires a lot of practice to master, which means many people continue mindfulness training as a part of their aftercare plan.

Family Therapy Sessions

Through family therapy sessions, people can gain their family’s full support and understanding. These sessions center around exploring the family dynamic and its impact on the patient’s binge eating symptoms. Therapists mediate the sessions while offering the family insights that can help everyone heal and move forward as a team. Families can come together privately or as a group of multiple families.

Eating disorder therapists assess their people’ needs to find the best therapy models to use in their treatment plan. Many people require multiple therapy models to fully build and strengthen their life skills, self-care routines, and coping techniques. With the right types of support, it is possible for people to overcome their challenges and achieve binge eating disorder recovery.

Aftercare Plan for Graduates of Binge Eating Disorder Centers

Upon becoming recovered, people will graduate from the binge eating disorder treatment program. All graduates work with their eating disorder recovery team to create an effective and supportive aftercare plan. With this plan, people can receive the support services they need to handle daily stressors and remain recovered.

Aftercare services often involve outside providers who can take over the binge eating counseling sessions and other care needs of the patient. These providers can collaborate to provide people with the highest level of care possible. Through collaborative care, all the patient’s mental and physical health conditions can remain well-managed. This helps to keep co-occurring conditions from derailing the patient’s ability to remain recovered outside of treatment.

Eating disorder treatment centers also provide educational resources and binge eating counseling groups for alumnae. The online resources give alumnae and their families the information they need to continue on the path of recovery and healing. These materials can often be viewed in real time as they are presented, and then again later as needed for additional support.

The alumnae groups promote great aftercare practices by allowing past people to maintain close connections to the treatment center staff and their peers. Through all aftercare services, graduates of binge eating disorder programs can move on with their goals outside of treatment without worrying about the risk of relapse.

How to Start the Journey Toward Binge Eating Disorder Recovery

People with binge eating disorder symptoms can take back control of their lives by acquiring care at dedicated inpatient and outpatient binge eating treatment centers. Admissions specialists await the opportunity to help people with eating disorders find and acquire their ideal level of care. People can share their challenges and treatment expectations with admissions specialists to begin their journey toward binge eating disorder recovery.

Through the completion of a thorough assessment, admissions specialists provide the care team with the info needed to create a personalized treatment plan for the patient. In response to symptom severity and other factors, people may enter inpatient or outpatient treatment programs. These programs promote the full healing of mind and body to restore the patient’s equilibrium and ability to live without binge eating disorder symptoms.

Fill out the information below to be contacted by one of our admissions specialists.

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How to Help Someone With an Eating Disorder

Knowing the difference between healthy and non-healthy compliments is key.

Nearly one in 25 American adults has serious mental illness, which means odds are someone in your life is coping with anxiety, depression, OCD, bipolar disorder or another debilitating condition. Still, shame about mental illness&thinsp&mdash&thinsplikely a holdover from when people wrongly believed such conditions were character flaws or a mother&rsquos fault&thinsp&mdash&thinspcan make it hard to seek help or even know what to say to those who struggle. To shine a light on the daily realities of mental illness, Good Housekeeping and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) surveyed more than 4,000 people, and found that over a third had a close friend or relative with mental illness. In our special package on how to support loved ones with mental illness, women who live with these widely misunderstood psychological issues share what it feels like, and how you can make a difference.

Food is never simply fuel or sustenance or a pleasurable part of life for someone with an eating disorder &mdash every bite involves rigid rules, supposed failures, and vows to be "better" when it comes to what you eat. &ldquoIt&rsquos like having another person in your brain who is constantly degrading you and berating you,&rdquo says Hollyn, 25, of Plano, TX, who has battled anorexia since she was 15. &ldquoThe voice would tell me, &lsquoYou can&rsquot eat that,&rsquo and I&rsquod ask, &lsquoWhy not?&rsquo and it would reply, &lsquoBecause you can&rsquot.&rsquo There was no rationale.&rdquo

Hollyn, who was chronically dehydrated through her teens and says she stumbled through high school in a daze because of her eating disorder, would often challenge herself to go as long as possible without eating or drinking. &ldquoWhen I did eat, I would make sure to eat very small portions. One of my rules was that I always had to leave something behind &mdash I would never let myself finish a meal in its entirety, and I never allowed myself to be full.&rdquo

22% of people surveyed said they don't discuss their mental illness because they don't want to burden anyone.

There are several types of eating disorders: The most common is binge-eating disorder, which involves emotionally distressing, out-of-control overeating (say, downing several pizzas and a box of cookies within two hours, and then feeling distraught about it). People who have bulimia nervosa also binge, but those episodes are followed by forced vomiting, overuse of laxatives, or excessive exercise to "purge" the calories. Anorexia nervosa is a disorder in which people restrict food so severely that it can lead to starvation, and they often have a distorted image of their body. Other restrictive eating disorders include orthorexia, an obsession with "healthy" or "pure" food that can lead to malnutrition, and ARFID (Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder), in which people avoid certain foods, not because of body-image or weight issues, but because they don&rsquot like certain textures, have a fear of choking, or are just not interested in eating.

While there's a common myth that eating disorders are all about asserting control, there are usually multiple reasons why someone may develop one, says Deborah Glasofer, Ph.D., an associate professor of clinical medical psychology at the Columbia Center for Eating Disorders in New York. "Different risk factors include genetics, personality and temperament, peer influence, and social media exposure," she explains. "And there are some personality features that tend to track with particularly types of disorders, but we don't have a clear answer as to why someone would develop one eating disorder over another &mdash or why they would develop an eating disorder at all."

If you or someone you know is battling an eating disorder, contact the National Eating Disorder Association's Live Helpline at 800-931-2237.

Hollyn, who is doing better after a recent round of treatment but says she still has some bad days, recalls how she would push herself to get through the day with as little nutrition as possible: She would skip breakfast, sit in the school hallway during lunch period, and eat very little at home &mdash even throwing away or flushing the rest of her food so her family wouldn&rsquot notice it hadn&rsquot been eaten. &ldquoMy excuse was always that I already ate, or I wasn&rsquot hungry,&rdquo she says. &ldquoMy eating disorder gave me something to focus on, something that I felt made me special.&rdquo

People with eating disorders often have a distorted image of their own body, believing they're overweight, when the opposite is true. Etsegenet, 40, from Inglewood, CA, developed an eating disorder in high school, a time she recalls as &ldquothe era of Calvin Klein models and body shaming. Anything more than 110 pounds felt like, &lsquoyou&rsquore gross.&rsquo&rdquo She gained a few pounds before starting high school, which set her on the road to exercising more and more and eating less and less. &ldquoI would throw up after dinner, but then my appetite changed, and there were times I don't remember eating at all,&rdquo she recalls. It wasn&rsquot until after she graduated college and landed in the hospital that she was finally given a diagnosis of anorexia and bulimia (the two have overlapping symptoms while many people with bulimia are of average weight, Estegenet was extremely underweight). That's when she began therapy and started to recover.

According the National Eating Disorders Association, around 20 million women and 10 million men will struggle with an eating disorder at some point in their lifetime. &ldquoEating disorders are biologically based,&rdquo says Glasofer. &ldquoThere are people who walk around in the world who are more vulnerable to it, and stressors such as puberty, moving to a new place, and trauma can set the stage for the disorder to develop.&rdquo

Whatever the trigger may be, the disordered eating then takes on a life of its own, she says. Because eating disorders can lead to severe health problems, including tooth decay, reflux, growth deficiencies, dehydration, infertility, organ failure, and even death, getting treatment early is crucial. &ldquoCognitive behavioral therapy for adults and family-based therapy for adolescents are very effective,&rdquo says Glasofer, who says that patients may begin with outpatient therapy and nutritional counseling, but may require hospitalization or residential treatment if their disordered eating doesn&rsquot improve within a month. One drug, Vyvanse, has been approved to treat binge-eating disorder, and since eating disorders are often intertwined with other conditions such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and mood stabilizers may also be prescribed.

If you know someone who is struggling with an eating disorder, it's crucial to lend support. Here's how you can be an ally:

  • If you see something, say something &mdash gently: Rather than calling out your friend or family member on their eating habits in the middle of a meal, wait until you have a chance to talk privately, and use supportive language, says Glasofer: &ldquoBe specific about the changes you&rsquove seen in their health or mood.&rdquo Say something like: &ldquoAre you feeling all right? You look under the weather lately,&rdquo or &ldquoI notice the last few times we've had lunch together, you didn't eat much and seemed really uncomfortable. Is everything okay? Can I help you find someone to talk to about it?&rdquo
  • Be aware of and avoid "diet culture" or disordered talk: Although you may not have an eating disorder (and may be focused on health), when you talk to a friend with an eating disorder about how many steps you tracked today, or how thin an actress looks after having just given birth, it can set the other person down a path of obsession. You may not even realize how much daily conversation focuses on the gaining and losing of weight. Even if you're talking about yourself, &ldquoIt really doesn&rsquot help when people talk about their food and their body image and exercise and calories,&rdquo says Hollyn. &ldquoFor me it&rsquos triggering.&rdquo
  • Give healthy compliments: If you're trying to boost the confidence of someone with an eating disorder, talk about their achievements ("I'm so proud of you for sticking with your treatment") or their health in general ("You are absolutely glowing these days") rather than complimenting their weight gain or loss. "To this day, when my family tells me I look thin &mdash even though I know they mean it as a compliment &mdash it makes me feel scrutinized, that they prefer me that way, which adds pressure and makes start obsessing about my body," says Alex, 45, of New York City, who had bulimia as a teenager.
  • Work together as a family: During treatment for an eating disorder, the entire family often redefines how they eat meals together, says Glasofer. That may involve finding interesting topics for everyone to discuss that don't center on weight or food, while giving gentle and consistent reminders about finishing the meal, praising the person for their effort when they've eaten, or agreeing to sit together after the meal, when the person with the eating disorder would normally be compelled to throw up.

The COVID-19 crisis has made life more challenging for everyone &mdash especially those who are struggling with a mental illness. Visit NAMI&rsquos COVID-19 Resource and Information Guide for more advice. For more information on eating disorders, visit the National Eating Disorders Association.

Home Treatment For Binge Eating Disorder: 21 Natural Treatments And Herbs

Researchers and clinicians are beginning to find out that there are two different groups of binge eating disorder patients:

  • Individuals with binge eating features and obesity but who have no significant psychological issues
  • People with similar eating abnormalities but more severe and prolonged emotional distress [1]

While therapy forms the backbone of binge eating disorders and pharmacological treatment is sometimes used as well, herbs and natural treatments can also play a role in helping you overcome your binge eating disorder. A good number of home remedies and herbal therapies emerged for the binge eating disorder treatment as a result of safety concerns and side effects associated with the use of pharmaceutical antidepressant medications. [2]

BED-Related Depression And Saffron Extract Treatment

Saffron extract may reduce serotonin reuptake in the synapses. This synaptic serotonin reuptake inhibition retains the mood-elevating neurotransmitter in the brain for a longer duration, boosting its impact and reducing depression. [2] Saffron extract has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects which hold therapeutic potential for a lot of nervous system disorders. [3]

An animal study additionally showed that many parts of the saffron plant contain antidepressant properties. Saffron extract helps to combat mild to moderate depression and anxiety, which trigger binge eating. [5] Saffron is an effective therapy for the treatment of mild to moderate depression [6] and it may be as effective as fluoxetine [7].

St John’s Wort

There are many scientific pieces of evidence that St John's wort may reduce symptoms in people with mild-to-moderate, but not severe depression. Thus, it can be useful in the treatment of binge eating disorder-related depression. Some studies found that it has a similar function as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), a well-accepted form of antidepressant frequently prescribed for the treatment of depression. [8]

Thus the herb St John’s Wort presents another natural and herbal treatment to treat binge eating disorder and a way to raise serotonin levels. It is a natural serotonin booster that helps to lessen anxiety and depression.

Serotonin is a chemical in the brain responsible for feeling good and connected with mood, appetite, sleep, learning and memory. If your serotonin levels are too low, you are likely to be anxious and perceive the world as unfriendly. [9].

Before using John’s wort, you must be aware that there are potential risks of interactions of John’s worth with other related prescribed medications and drugs that treat binge eating disorder. [10] Talk to your healthcare provider before using St John's wort if you are also using other medications. [11]


5-HTP is another natural supplement that boosts serotonin and reduces anxiety and depression. [12] Consult your doctor if you are taking any other antidepressant medication or serotonin booster before taking this supplement.

L-Tryptophan For Anxiety

Although l-tryptophan can be obtained from your diet, and especially a therapeutic eating plan for binge eating disorder recovery, a number of people choose to take a more direct approach to obtain additional tryptophan and boost serotonin levels. L-Tryptophan is available as a supplement and helps to treat depression, though it does require a doctor’s prescription.

Vitamin Supplements

The daily intake of vitamin supplements that are made up of vitamins A, B, C and E and minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium are essential in activating brain function and stabilizing the appetite. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids boost the relaxation of muscles and help to minimize stress.

A multivitamin supplies the body with its necessary nutrition and sustains a chemical balance. Together with therapy for binge eating disorder, it can help you control your urge to binge eat. [13]

Supplements That Boost Dopamine Levels

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter responsible for motivation. It is usually injected intravenously and easily reaches the brain this way. There are a number of herbs, amino acids, and natural compounds that naturally boost the levels of dopamine in the brain.

Some of these supplements are used for specific psychological issues like ADHD, depression, or anxiety, and we'll discuss some of those now.


The top recommended dopamine supplement is l-tyrosine. L-tyrosine is an amino acid that acts as a precursor to dopamine. Tyrosine is naturally present in protein-rich foods like animal products and legumes. If your diet is deficient in l-tyrosine, you will have insufficient dopamine. There are many forms of tyrosine supplements but the best of them all is the highly absorbable form of l-tyrosine that acts as a filter that keeps foreign substances out of the brain. [14]

Mucuna Pruriens

Mucuna pruriens is a tropical legume that is also referred to as velvet bean or cowhage. The beans and pods are made up of l-dopa, a dopamine precursor. Mucuna pruriens supplements help to boost mood, memory, and general brain health. Research shows that Mucuna pruriens is more functional than levodopa medications. [15]


Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a popular natural brain supplement that boosts dopamine levels and helps to improve memory, concentration, and symptoms of ADHD. [16, 17] It also reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol. [18] Phosphatidylserine can be obtained in food like cow brains and chicken hearts.

Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo biloba is another popular herbal remedy for brain-related disorders like depression and anxiety. [19]


L-theanine is an amino acid that is present in green tea. L-Theanine increases dopamine and boosts mood. [20, 21]


SAM-e (s-adenosyl methionine) is a natural remedy for depression. It boosts the levels of dopamine, serotonin, and other neurotransmitters that are responsible for good mood. [22]

Essential Body Awareness Therapy

A study [23] found that essential body awareness therapy can help to manage binge eating disorder. Body awareness therapy centers on awareness of some valuable movements. This treatment helped individuals with binge eating disorder to increase self-awareness.

Yoga Therapy

Yoga helps your binge eating by minimizing your stress levels. A study showed that women who practice yoga improved their positive feelings and sense of worth significantly. They also showed improved body image, reduced self-objection and better eating habits. [24]

Another study found that home-yoga, when practiced together with regular formal weekly sessions, helps in the treatment of binge eating disorder. [25]

Acupuncture Therapy

Acupuncture, used together with regular treatments of binge eating disorder, can be effective in minimizing symptoms of depression, gives individuals a better sense of control, and improves their mental and physical health. [26]

Relaxation Therapy

Massage and relaxation therapy helps to improve patients’ personal attitude to life which makes it easier for them to recover. Massage therapy boosts the levels of serotonin and dopamine and lessens levels of depression, anxiety, and stress that trigger binge eating episodes. [27]

Relaxation therapies like aromatherapy and meditation help to minimize emotional binge eating, boost self-acceptance, and help the individual to discover binge eating triggers. Research shows that these therapies also curb anxiety, food addiction and help the patient's ability to manage pain. [28]


A pilot study discovered that individuals with varying types of eating disorders found heart rate variability (HRV) biofeedback very helpful at combating their eating disorders. [29]

Building Individual Support Through Media Education

A study discovered that women who posted images of physically fit bodies with information on determination and perseverance improved their body weight, compulsive exercise and their risk ofclinical eating disorders. Another study found that information technology based CBT and other psycho-educational therapies were not very effective for boosting body image issues and eating disorders in college students. [30]

Appetite Awareness Training

Appetite awareness training treats binge eating by enhancing identification of and reaction to interior food symptoms instead of exterior food cues and helps to reduce binge eating than controlling with a wait-list therapy. [31].

Mindfulness Therapy

Mindfulness therapy is another great supplementary binge eating disorder treatment. It aims to boost awareness of what triggers binge eating episodes and help the individual to gain better self-control over food and be able to develop better self acceptance. [32].

Exercise And Virtual Reality Therapy

Incorporating exercise and virtual reality into your binge eating treatment can encourage weight loss and improve your body image. [33, 34]

Pharmacological Treatment Approaches

Pharmacological treatments for EDs exist, yet they’re used far less often than psychological treatments.

They’re mostly used to treat binge-eating disorder and, to a lesser extent, bulimia nervosa, but there’s little evidence for their efficacy in anorexia nervosa.

As with all treatment options, some people respond well to drug therapies, while others don’t, yet some may do best with a combination of psychological and pharmacological treatments.

Unfortunately, however, we don’t yet understand who is and who is not likely to benefit from pharmacological treatments.

Let’s briefly take a look at the categories of drug treatments proven to be effective in binge-eating disorder and bulimia nervosa 6 ]Brownley, K. A., Berkman, N. D., Peat, C. M., Lohr, K. N., Cullen, K. E., Bann, C. M., & Bulik, C. M. (2016). Binge-Eating Disorder in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis Annals of Internal Medicine, 165, 409-420. doi:10.7326/M15-2455 :

Antidepressant Medications (for bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder)

Antiepileptic Medications (for binge-eating disorder))

As you can see, there aren’t many medications available to treat people with eating disorders. And the medications that have proven to be effective are only based on a small number of research studies.

It’s not surprising, then, why few people with EDs get treated with pharmacotherapy.


“Once they were put on treatment for attention deficit they were actually able to lose weight.”

At the same time, though, she agrees there is a risk of over-diagnosing binges, and using Vyvanse to treat the disorder has to be marketed carefully.

“This is not a quick fix. This is certainly not going to apply to everybody — it doesn’t even apply to most people with obesity, though certainly applies to some of them,” she said.

“It would be very bad if every single person who had weight difficulty simply went into their family doctor and said, ‘I want to be on this drug to be thin’ and they were given this drug.”

Frances, of Duke University, predicts BED will become “one of the most common of all diagnosis” and that an effective drug to control over-eating will remain elusive for years to come.

“We’ve done this experiment for 50 years,” he said. “We try to come up with simple solutions to very complex bodily processes and they wind up falling short.”

“If there’s anything we know about obesity it’s that it does not respond to quick fixes,” he said.

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