Effective Binge Eating Disorder Treatment Strategies

Binge eating disorder treatment revolves around the use of effective strategies to help people replace disordered thoughts and behaviors with beneficial alternatives. While in treatment, people also build the life skills and coping abilities needed to navigate daily life after recovery.

The treatment process is much more effective when family members and other loved ones provide their understanding and support. The social connections gained go a long way in helping people become recovered and avoid relapse in the future.

By taking a look at the leading binge eating disorder treatment strategies, people can prepare to provide their loved ones with the ideal level of support. They can get started with this guide and by collaborating with the team at the treatment center.

Customized Treatment Plans

Not all eating disorder treatments work for all people. As they know this well, effective treatment programs provide each person with a customized plan to follow in their journey toward becoming recovered.

In creating a plan, treatment professionals look at each person’s diagnoses, symptoms, and other factors to find the best combination of approaches. With that knowledge, they can recommend the therapy models, exposure therapy exercises, and other care techniques that may work best.

The customized treatment plans are not static either. As people with eating disorders move through treatment, their needs often change, necessitating alterations of their treatment plan. Skilled professionals will use that information to provide additional recommendations that will help promote the continued progress toward their goals in recovery.

Multi-Disciplinary Approach 

Binge eating disorder treatment requires a multi-disciplinary approach that addresses all aspects of the individual. The approach needs to center around improving physical and mental health while promoting recovery from eating disorders.

They provide treatment for diagnosed eating disorders while addressing all co-existing mental health conditions, for example. They offer all the care needed to improve each person’s overall wellbeing and give them a solid foundation for their recovery. By taking this approach, treatment professionals can help people become fully recovered and give them the tools to avoid the risk of relapse.

Ideal Environment for Healing

Eating disorder treatment centers provide a fully-optimized care environment as a key strategy in helping people become recovered. In a well-designed and controlled environment, people can focus on healing rather than trying to brace themselves for disruptions.

The ideal care environment helps minimize binge eating triggers and other stressors that can make it hard to cope. That way, individuals can build their strength and resilience in a targeted manner — and avoid getting derailed along the way.

In creating warm and inviting retreats, eating disorder treatment centers help people stay comfortable while working on healing away from home. They are better able to move through the treatment levels and become recovered without feeling homesick, uncomfortable, or distracted.

Binge Eating Counseling

Binge eating counseling is an important care strategy used to help people replace disordered thoughts and behaviors with adaptive skills. The counseling sessions also help people resolve and manage underlying issues, such as past trauma, substance abuse, and mental health conditions.

Many insights and coping skills are also introduced through a variety of therapy models, including:

Dialectical Behavioral Skills Training

Through dialectical behavioral skills training, people with binge eating disorder replace disordered thoughts and behaviors with adaptive coping skills. This type of therapy centers around four important modules:

  • Mindfulness
  • Emotion regulation
  • Distress tolerance
  • Interpersonal effectiveness

Each module teaches people to listen to their mind and body, and then manage their response to the situation.


Through the mindfulness stage, people work on listening to their thoughts and feelings without judgment. With practice, they can become more aware of their binge eating triggers and self-judgments made about their inner thoughts. This information will serve them well as they focus on challenging disordered thought patterns and the resulting behaviors.

Emotion Regulation

While moving through binge eating disorder treatment, many people have a hard time identifying and working through their emotions. They may have bouts of emotional dysregulation in which overwhelming emotions come on suddenly, leaving them feeling out of control. The emotional regulation stage of dialectical behavioral skills training addresses this by helping people gain control of their emotions.

People also learn how to be less vulnerable to strong, unwanted emotions arising by:

  • Seeking positive experiences
  • Building mastery in a variety of tasks
  • Preparing to cope with stressful situations
  • Maintaining a balanced lifestyle

This stage also presents opposite actions as a way to manage unwanted emotions as they arise. Through opposite actions, people can better cope with stress while avoiding maladaptive coping methods used in the past, such as binge eating.

Distress Tolerance

While working on distress tolerance, people develop the ability to acknowledge and withstand strong emotions. They learn how to tolerate the emotional turmoil that arises with life’s many stressors without relying on disordered behaviors to cope. To assist in coping appropriately, counselors introduce several effective methods during this stage, including:

  • Accepting the distress
  • Finding appropriate distractions
  • Improving the moment
  • Self-soothing tactics

With these techniques, people can increase their tolerance of distress and manage their behaviors through recovery and beyond.

Interpersonal Effectiveness

The final stage centers around improving interpersonal effectiveness. Through this process, people can learn how to relate to others effectively and get what they need out of relationships. They also learn how to give back to create a mutually-beneficial relationship without giving too much of themselves. Eating disorder counselors will address how to set boundaries, share feelings, and strengthen relationships in a variety of ways.

Upon completing all these modules, people gain insights and tools that help them avoid relapse and remain recovered through all of life’s stressors.

Interpersonal Process

Interpersonal process counseling gives people a chance to look at how their thoughts, experiences, and family relationships influence their lives. At exploring these three areas, these individuals can see how their disordered thoughts and behaviors developed. Then, they can create a personalized roadmap toward becoming recovered from binge eating disorder.

Through this process, they may discard maladaptive and ineffective coping styles, such as:

  • Conflict avoidance
  • Emotional withdrawal
  • Aggressive resistance
  • Self-sufficiency

By exploring how these strategies arose, it is possible to replace them with beneficial alternatives. Interpersonal relationships tend to improve as a result, giving people the support they need while in eating disorder treatment.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

As far as binge eating symptoms go, intrusive thoughts are quite common. These thoughts often arise as people try to ignore the urge to binge on food or engage in other disordered behaviors. Through acceptance and commitment therapy, people learn to eliminate these negative thought patterns and regain control of their minds.

While completing this form of therapy, people learn how to shift their attention to things they can control rather than those they cannot. With this shift, they disrupt the intrusive thought patterns and replace them with positive narratives.

To accomplish this goal, they will move through six main processes:

  • Defusing intrusive thoughts that negatively affect the mind
  • Shifting from avoiding the thoughts to accepting them
  • Using mindfulness to assess thought patterns and return to the present
  • Removing unhelpful narratives that impede change and growth
  • Identifying values that are important to them, not society
  • Committing to take action toward building meaning in life

As people work through these steps, they can make their thoughts work for them rather than against their best interests. Counselors remain by their side every step of the way to help facilitate this process and the growth that comes along with it.

Additional Binge Eating Counseling Options

Eating disorder counselors can tap into many other forms of therapy to help people become fully recovered from binge eating disorder, including:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Expressive art
  • Relapse prevention
  • Body image

Both individual and group therapy sessions can be used for all types of therapy effective in treating binge eating disorder. Counselors may even use these models for the family therapy sessions, depending on the individual’s unique needs and preferences.

Exposure Therapy 

With its ability to eliminate fears about food, eating, and many other concerns, exposure therapy is an integral binge eating disorder treatment strategy. In this type of therapy, people strategically approach situations that trigger their binge eating symptoms with support from their counselors. Through repeated exposure to their unique triggers, they can decrease their unwanted emotional response to different situations.

While in eating disorder treatment, people commonly receive a new exposure therapy activity to complete each day. They will need to approach this activity as instructed, measuring their emotional response along the way. Counselors can help them process their response to the stressors, promoting their emotional resilience and growth.

As these individuals conquer their fears and reduce their emotional reactions, they can move on down the list, facing one trigger at a time. By the time they complete the treatment process, they will have greatly reduced or fully eliminated these concerns. This helps ensure they do not feel the urge to return to disordered thought patterns and behaviors.

Step-Down Levels of Care

Effective eating disorder treatment centers have many step-down levels of care. People with intensive treatment needs can take advantage of the residential treatment option. In residential treatment, these individuals have access to round-the-clock care and support. They can find their recovered self with help from the staff who are trained in all the most effective treatment methods.

When it comes time to step down from residential care, individuals can choose between residential or day treatment options. Supervised living provides a little extra monitoring and support than day treatment does. This option is great for those who need a stable, substance-free environment conducive to healing from eating disorders. Once they are ready to move onto the next phase, they can step down to day treatment.

Depending on their care needs, people may join the partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient day treatment programs. Eating disorder treatment professionals can help everyone find their ideal level of care and ideal day treatment program. Each program prepares everyone to transition home while avoiding the return to disordered thought patterns and behaviors.

Promotion of Family Involvement

Every step of the way, quality binge eating treatment centers promote family involvement. They provide family members with education and care that helps them act as a source of support for their loved ones in treatment. The therapy sessions and other activities help all family members come together in healing and move forward in recovering.

Treatment centers help family members stay involved from the beginning when they first call for an intake assessment. Admissions specialists welcome family members to the center for orientation to introduce them to the care process and treatment team. Then, they invite family back for therapy and coaching sessions that help everyone gain important insights and tools.

Family involvement increases even more as people move toward discharge from the treatment center. They can participate in the planning process, creating a supportive environment for their loved one as they return home. Through this process, family members learn how to play a role in their loved one’s long-term recovery as well.

How to Acquire Binge Eating Disorder Treatment

Eating disorder treatment strategies are available to anyone who needs support becoming and remaining recovered. When loved ones notice any binge eating symptoms, they can call their treatment center of choice to discuss the available strategies and care process.

Admissions specialists will complete an intake assessment over the phone and find the best time for the orientation appointment. To acquire the right level of support, family members can simply call 866-511-4325 and speak to the admissions specialists about starting the journey to recovery.