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May 31, 2019

Weight Loss Camps and Binge Eating Disorder Treatment

Group of People at Weight Loss Camps

If you have a binge eating disorder, you may be highly concerned about your weight. Since many individuals who binge eat are overweight or obese, weight loss treatments and weight loss camps may seem a very attractive option. However, it may not be the adequate treatment your mind and body needs to recover.

Recovering from BED

Similar to bulimia, binge-eating disorder (BED) involves binging on food, or overeating. However, unlike bulimia, there is an absence of purging or abuse of laxatives in an attempt to remove food from one’s body after over-eating.

The goals for treatment of BED are to reduce eating binges and achieve healthy eating habits. Research shows that an all-encompassing approach, including restoration of healthy weight, addressing underlying issues of shame and guilt, medications, moderate exercise, learning healthier eating habits, and therapy is the standard of recovery.

Residential treatment centers typically offer all of the above treatment options in one place. Such facilities usually include a wide range of specialists: psychologists, medical doctors, nutritionists, meditation and relaxation professionals, and fitness experts. They help a person learn all of the skills necessary and put them into daily practice in a safe, relaxed setting.

Weight loss camps, on the other hand, are known to typically focus on weight loss, with little to no attention paid to the underlying issues that form the basis for unhealthy coping mechanisms.

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Psychotherapy for BED

One of the key components missing for Weight loss camps is psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is the most common treatment for BED, backed by substantial research support. Beyond disordered eating, psychotherapy encompasses emotional health and happiness, prioritizing the underlying emotional and cognitive issues that evoked disordered eating in the first place.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a focused approach that enables a patient to understand how their thinking and negative self-talk, and vulnerable self-image can directly influence their eating behaviors.

CBT may help the patients understand, identify and alter their dysfunctional thoughts and broken beliefs about their self-image, and at the same time, work toward making a real change through specific behavioral interventions such as the setting of goals and strategies to accomplish them.

Another form of psychotherapy, family therapy, helps patients understand how their eating disorders play a dysfunctional role within the family. It also helps the family to understand the roles they are playing in the disordered eating, and suggest ways to help the patient recover.

Medications for BED

Only two drugs, fluoxetine (Prozac) and lisdexamfetamine dimesylate (Vyvanse), have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of BED. These drugs have been proven to reduce binge episodes and are often prescribed in combination with psychotherapy. Doctors may also prescribe medications to assist with obsessive thoughts and depression, both conditions that are known commonly to co-occur in people with BED.

At appropriate doses, antidepressants have been seen to inhibit the intensity of urges to binge for some individuals.

Determining the best route

Girl Exercising for Weight Loss CampsTreatment for binge eating disorder does not focus on dieting or losing weight. Before you consider weight loss treatments, you need to look into therapy to help you understand the underlying reasons for binge eating and how to change that behavior. You also need to work with a doctor and dietitian to create a healthy meal plan and exercise routine.

If you are experiencing major health problems due to your weight after getting binge eating treatment, consult a doctor who understands the risks of dieting for someone with a history of binge eating. There is not enough evidence that supports the residential intensive treatments to be the only route. Similar results can be achieved through outpatient settings as well.

Whatever route toward greater health you take, make sure to enlist self-help methods such as support groups and bibliotherapy  to address the underlying issues as well.

Ultimately, whichever route you pick, self-understanding comes first.


1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/binge-eating-disorder/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353633
2. https://psychcentral.com/eating-disorders/treatment-for-binge-eating-disorder/
3. https://www.healthline.com/health/eating-disorders/antidepressants-for-binge-eating#1

About the Author:

Sana Ahmed ImageSana Ahmed is a journalist and social media savvy content writer with extensive research, print, and on-air interview skills. She has previously worked as a staff writer for a renowned rehabilitation institute, a content writer for a marketing agency, an editor for a business magazine and been an on-air news broadcaster.

Sana graduated with a Bachelors in Economics and Management from the London School of Economics and began a career of research and writing right after. Her recent work has largely been focused upon mental health and addiction recovery.

The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Reviewed & Approved on May 31, 2019, by Jacquelyn Ekern MS, LPC
Published May 31, 2019, on EatingDisorderHope.com

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