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Treatment for binge eating disorder

Binge eating disorder (BED) is a serious mental illness where people experience a loss of control and overeat on a regular basis. Read more about BED.

Most treatment for binge eating disorder will take place in outpatient services. Inpatient treatment is usually only necessary when someone is at risk of suicide or severe self-harm.


Therapy can be recommended as part of the treatment for binge eating disorder in order to tackle the underlying thoughts and feelings that cause the illness and encourage healthier ways of coping. Therapies recommended to help treat binge eating disorder might include:

  • Evidence-based self-help, which will involve some of the same techniques you would learn in face-to-face therapy. Ideally this will be with support and encouragement from your healthcare team.
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy – binge eating disorder (CBT-BED), CBT that has been adapted to suit the needs of people with BED.
  • Interpersonal psychotherapy for binge eating disorder.
  • Modified dialectical behaviour therapy (modified DBT).

CBT is likely to be recommended as part of your treatment, but other forms of therapy can be offered as well if this isn’t right for you. You can read more about the different types of therapies and what they involve on the “Eating disorders terms” page.

Self-help and support groups

Self help and support groups where you’re able to talk to others going through similar experiences can be useful to both sufferers and their families throughout treatment and in sustaining recovery. Please search our Helpfinder database for information about what’s available in your area. Alternatively, Beat runs online support groups for people with eating disorders.

Issue date: January 2017

Review date: January 2020

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