Health Notes

Eating Disorders

Also indexed as:Binge Eating
Eating Disorders: Main Image

Lifestyle Modification

Although regular, moderate exercise offers important health benefits, for many people excessive exercise is a common component of eating disorders, especially anorexia nervosa.1 In one controlled trial, a majority of the people with eating disorders reported that participation in competitive sports and exercise performed as part of a weight loss plan contributed to their condition.2 For people with eating disorders, it is important to establish and maintain healthy exercise habits; these individuals should consult with a healthcare professional skilled in eating disorders.

Holistic Options

Psychological counselling, for both the individual and her family, and behaviour modification training are also commonly used for people with eating disorders, often as part of a team approach that also includes nutrition counselling and medical care. Numerous preliminary and controlled studies have shown that the psychotherapy technique known as cognitive-behavioural therapy is effective in reducing the symptoms of bulimia.3, 4 For example, one study found 69% of a group receiving cognitive-behavioural therapy were abstaining from binge-eating and purging six months later compared to only 15% of a group keeping a diary of their behaviour.5 Preliminary studies6 and one controlled trial7 suggest another technique, interpersonal psychotherapy, is equally effective for people with bulimia. Cognitive behavioural therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy have also been effective for people with binge-eating disorder in controlled trials,8, 9 resulting in cessation of binge-eating in almost half of the subjects in one report.10

The effectiveness of psychotherapy for anorexia nervosa is less clear.11, 12 One controlled trial found that psychotherapy (type unspecified) significantly improved weight gain compared to no treatment, and complete or nearly complete recovery occurred in 60% of the patients.13 Two other studies comparing different types of psychotherapy for anorexia nervosa found comparable improvement from all types;14, 15 one of these studies reported moderate improvement in 63% of cases.16 Long-term effectiveness of psychotherapy for eating disorders has not been studied.

Copyright © 2024 TraceGains, Inc. All rights reserved.

Learn more about TraceGains, the company.

The information presented by TraceGains is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2024.