Short-term Program For Binge Eaters Has Long-term Benefits

Frances Lynch, PhD, MSPH, a health economist at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research. Ruth H. Striegel-Moore, PhD, a professor of mindset at Wesleyan University. Bingeing has received a great deal of mass media attention lately because the American Psychiatric Association is suggesting that it certainly be a separate, unique eating disorder like bulimia and anorexia.

This new diagnosis should be expected to focus more attention on binge eating and how far better treat it, based on the researchers. It also could influence the true number of people diagnosed and how insurers will cover treatment. This randomized managed trial, conducted in 2004-2005, involved 123 members of the Kaiser Permanente health plan in Oregon and southwest Washington. Half of the individuals were signed up for the intervention and asked to learn the reserve “Overcoming Binge Eating” by Dr. Christopher Fairburn, a professor of psychiatry and expert on eating disorders.

The book details technological information about bingeing and then outlines a six-step self-help program using self-monitoring, self-control and problem-solving strategies. Participants in the study attended eight therapy sessions over the course of12 weeks where counselors explained the explanation for cognitive behavioral therapy and helped participants apply the strategies in the book. The first session lasted one hour, and subsequent periods were 20-25 minutes.

All individuals were mailed fliers describing medical plan’s offerings for healthy living and eating and inspired to contact their primary care physician to find out about more services. By the ultimate end of the 12-week program 63.5 percent of participants had stopped binging, in comparison to 28.3 percent of those who did not participate. Six months later, 74.5 percent of program participants abstained from binging, compared to 44.1 percent in normal care.

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At twelve months, 64.2 percent of participants were binge free, compared to 44.6 percent of these in usual treatment. Everyone in the trial was asked to provide extensive information about their bingeing episodes, how often they skipped work or were less successful at the job, and the total amount they spent on health care, weight-loss programs and weight loss supplements.

Researchers also examined expenses on medications, doctor trips, and other health-related services. 447 less in the treatment group. 149 for the individuals, who spent less on weight loss programs, over-the-counter supplements and medications. As expected, participants in the intervention group spent less on weight loss programs and over-the-counter medications and supplements. Lynn DeBar, PhD, clinical psychologist at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research.

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