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By Julia Haimovich, Accredited Practicing Dietitian.

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Breaking Free from Binge Eating: Unveiling Effective Treatment Pathways

Binge eating characterised by consuming substantial amounts of food in a short period while feeling
a lack of control occurs for a multitude of complex reasons, encompassing both psychological and
environmental factors.

This behaviour is often driven by emotional distress and coping mechanisms.
Individuals struggling with stress, anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem may turn to food as a
means of comfort or distraction, providing temporary relief from their emotional turmoil.

Treating binge eating involves a multifaceted approach by a multidisciplinary team. Psychotherapy,
particularly Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT), is a cornerstone. CBT helps individuals identify
triggers, challenge distorted thoughts, and develop coping strategies. Interpersonal Therapy (IPT)
addresses relationship dynamics contributing to binge eating, while Dialectical Behaviour Therapy
(DBT) combines CBT with mindfulness techniques for emotion regulation. Nutritional counselling
promotes balanced eating habits and meal planning, while medication like SSRIs may be considered
in some cases.

Support groups offer a sense of community, and lifestyle changes, including regular
exercise and stress management, contribute to overall well-being. Accessing self-help resources,
such as books or online materials, can reinforce strategies.

Mindful eating, focusing on hunger and
fullness cues, is valuable. Addressing co-occurring mental health conditions, like depression or
anxiety, is also vital. Individualised treatment plans are essential, emphasising professional help and
consistent therapy for adequate recovery and long-term management of binge eating.

Please, see your GP and consult with the dietitian of you have any concerns.

Hay P, Chinn D, Forbes D, Madden S, Newton R, Sugenor L, et al. Royal Australian and New Zealand
College of Psychiatrists clinical practice guidelines for the treatment of eating disorders. Aust N Z J
Psychiatry. 2014;48(11):977-1008.

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