Binge Control: A Compact Recovery Guide

Transcript from our May 14, 2015 TweetChat with Cynthia M. Bulik, author of “Binge Control: A Compact Recovery Guide”



“Binge Control: A Compact Recovery Guide”

Welcome to today’s #EDHchat! We are excited to have special guest, Dr. Cynthia Bulik with us today. Dr. Bulik will be tweeting as @cbulik. Thank you for joining us today Dr. Bulik!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.

I am a clinical psychologist and the founding director of the UNC CEED. Much of my work at UNC CEED is research and training. Interestingly, I started treating people with binge eating disorder in New Zealand long before it was recognized.

You can find out much more about my life on I am grant recipient from Shire Pharmaceuticals and an author for Walker and Pearson. That’s pretty much all about me!

Can you share with us what is Binge Eating Disorder (BED)?

Sure. Let’s do basics of BED. Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the US. Binge eating disorder BED occurs in ~3.5% of women, 2% of men, and 1.6% of adolescents. Binge eating disorder may be more common among Hispanic/Latino than other racial/ethnic groups.

BED is marked by eating significantly large amounts of food in a short time and FEELING OUT OF CONTROL. To be diagnosed with BED, binge eating must occur >= 1 time a week for 3 months (but any binge eating is of concern). More basics… Binge eating is associated with distress and often shame and guilt. People with BED eat until uncomfortably full & often eat alone to avoid embarrassment. Unlike bulimia, binge eating periods are not followed by regular purging, excessive exercise, or fasting.

Those are the core features, but there are many variations on that central theme.

What compelled you to write your book, “Binge Control: A Compact Recovery Guide”?

I actually got angry about several blogs that lashed out against BED as a formal diagnosis by misinformed bloggers! The “why” question about prevalence of BED in Latinos is not yet known but important to study!

I decided to create something like Cliff or Spark notes (depending on your age!) for BED to cover the basics.

Fun fact! My daughters developed the concept for the title—embedding “In Control” inside of BINGE CONTROL!

What treatments are available for those who struggle with BED? 

There are a few practical basics that are foundational for recovery. Regular healthful eating, regular physical activity, and alternative emotion regulators are critical for treatment. People underappreciate the value of predictability for body & mind. Regular eating, sleeping, & activity help in recovery.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the go to treatment for BED. Interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) has also shown promise. We’re really excited about our new couple based treatment for BED, UNITE UNITE brings couples together to form a recovery team. Patients & partners love it. Often both partners have BED.

Don’t forget the important role that dietitians play in helping to develop healthy eating patterns BED. I love working side-by-side with dietitians to help bring order back into eating (and lives) that have become chaotic.

Options exist for the format of therapy as well: individual, group, self-help, guided self-help.

Several antidepressants and anticonvulsants are also effective in reducing binge eating (at least in the short term). There is also a new FDA approved drug to treat BED (Vyvanse) (short term positive effects)

What advice would you share with someone today struggling with BED? 

Arm yourself with information and find a provider(s) and a treatment(s) that is right for you. If the first treatment is not effective, don’t give up. Try something else or a second course of the same treatment. Don’t give up hope, it is possible to get BED “in control”. Also, if necessary, educate your provider. Many primary care docs do not yet understand BED. To be honest, many psychiatrists and therapists are also in need of upskilling about BED treatment.

Where could we find a copy of your book?

Easiest way to find Binge Control is on Amazon. It is available in paperback or Kindle 


Wonderful! Thank you Dr. Bulik, we appreciate you sharing your expertise on this important topic.

Thank you for your lifesaving work in the eating disorder field. For more information on Dr. Bulik, visit her website at

Please stay tuned for future Twitter Chats from EDH!

If you are in need of resources for an eating disorder, visit our website at