What is a eating disorder
An eating disorder is a serious condition in which preoccupation with food and weight leads to significant impairments in health, psychological well-being and daily living. The three main types of eating disorder are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder. Two of these disorders, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorders, have as their core characteristic the presence of eating binges (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).
Compulsive eating disorder
Known by its official name as binge-eating disorder, this disorder is characterized by frequent episodes of compulsive eating. It has also often been conceptualized as a food addiction, because during these episodes, the individual feels a loss of control over eating and a marked distress about these eating behaviors. In addition, individuals affected by binge eating disorder also have dysfunctional body shape and weight concerns, psychiatric comorbidity (e.g., depression), obesity, as well as other significant health and psychosocial impairments (Wilson, Wilfley, Agras, & Bryson, 2010).
Established treatments for binge eating disorder include interpersonal psychotherapy, cognitive behavior therapy and behavioral weight loss techniques aimed to help patients learn how to stop eating excessively and monitor and control their food addiction.
Interpersonal Psychotherapy: Patients first focus on a detailed analysis of the interpersonal context within which the binge eating disorder developed and was maintained. Using this analysis, current interpersonal problem areas are formulated, which then form the focus of the second stage of therapy. The final 3 sessions review the patient’s progress in terms of compulsive eating and an explore ways to handle future interpersonal difficulties and challenge related to food addiction.
Guided Self-Help Cognitive Behavior Therapy:
This treatment is manualized and performed under the guidance of a therapist. Patients are given a book for how to overcome binge eating, which also includes a step-by-step self-help program. The primary focus of this intervention is to develop a regular pattern of moderate eating using self-monitoring strategies, techniques for self-control, and problem-solving approaches.
The treatment stresses relapse prevention in order to promote behavior change maintenance. The therapist’s main role is to explain the use of the self-help manual, help the patient develop reasonable expectations for success, and to motivate the patient throughout therapy.
Behavioral Weight Loss:
This approach to treating compulsive eating and food addiction addresses the patient’s concerns for how to stop eating excessively by including both moderate caloric restriction and exercise. The treatment initially focuses on dietary change toward a weight loss goal of 7% of one’s starting weight, by reducing fat intake to 25% of calories from fat. The exercise goal is 2.5 hours of moderate exercise each week.
Hypnosis can help in the treatment of binge eating, bulimia and compulsive eating, because individuals suffering from binge eating appear to be more hypnotizable than patients with anorexia nervosa or more restrictive types of eating disorders, which suggests that hypnosis could work as potentially effective adjunct to therapy. In hypnosis treatments that include several 60-minute sessions, hypnosis interventions have been shown to be as effective as more established cognitive-behavior therapy for some patients (Brewerton & Baker Dennis, 2014).
American Psychiatric Association, American Psychiatric Association, & DSM-5 Task Force. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5. Arlington, Va.: American Psychiatric Association.
Brewerton, T. D., & Baker Dennis, A. (Eds.). (2014). Eating Disorders, Addictions and Substance Use Disorders. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg. Retrieved from http://link.springer.com/10.1007/978-3-642-45378-6
Wilson, G. T., Wilfley, D. E., Agras, W. S., & Bryson, S. W. (2010). Psychological Treatments of Binge Eating Disorder. Archives of General Psychiatry, 67(1), 94. doi:10.1001/archgenpsychiatry.2009.170