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Treatment - Binge eating disorder (BED)

Most people recover from binge eating disorder with the right treatment and support. But it may take time.

The main treatments for binge eating are:

  • guided self-help programmes
  • a type of talking therapy called cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

Binge eating disorder often causes weight gain. This can lead to other health problems. But you should not try to diet while you are having treatment. This is because it can make your binge eating worse.

Cognitive behavioural therapy

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is offered by most community mental health teams (CMHTs).

It can help you:

  • recognise unhelpful patterns of behaviour
  • manage problems by thinking in a more balanced way

Your CBT therapist will help you:

  • plan out the meals and snacks you should have during the day, to help you adopt regular eating habits
  • work out what is triggering your binge eating
  • change and manage negative feelings about your body
  • stick to your new eating habits so you do not relapse into binge eating

You should not try to diet while you are having treatment. This can make it much more difficult to stop binge eating.

Find out more about talking therapies


CBT-E is a form of CBT. It has been created specifically for eating disorders and their difficulties. For example, distorted thinking about shape and weight or perfectionism.


Antidepressants are not the only treatment for bulimia. But you may be offered an antidepressant like fluoxetine (Prozac).

This is combined with therapy or self-help treatment to help you manage other conditions, such as:

Antidepressants are rarely prescribed for children or young people under 18.

Find out more about antidepressants

For more information and support visit

Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE

Page last reviewed: 1 September 2022
Next review due: 1 September 2025