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A New Approach to Binge Eating Disorder Treatment?

A New Approach to Binge Eating Disorder Treatment?

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Do you struggle with binge eating? Don’t worry. You are not alone.  It is estimated that compulsive binge eating affects approximately 15 million people in the United States. Because of these startling numbers, we are always looking at different kinds of studies that explore treatment for binge eaters.  Now, a new treatment may help compulsive binge eaters take control of their compulsions.

The researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) are analyzing the beneficial effects of a receptor called Trace Amine-Associate Receptor 1 (TAAR1) on binge eating. The receptor was discovered in 2001 and is a receptor that binds to molecules in the brain called trace amines.

What is Binge Eating

Binge eating is defined by episodes of eating large quantities of food, often very quickly, to the point of discomfort. Binge eaters often experience a loss of control during these eating episodes followed by feelings of shame and guilt afterward.

This new study could help with the sense of powerlessness that binge eaters feel during their compulsive episodes.  Researchers tested the trace amines and found that by administering a TAAR1 agonist, RO5256390, it was able to block the strength of cues associated with compulsive eating. The researchers observed that when TAAR1 decreased, subjects showed more controlled over their addiction.

“TAAR1 seems to be working as a “brake” in the areas of the brain involved in decision-making and executive function. Subjects exposed to junk food lose this “brake” and w aberrant addiction-like behavior over food. We are able to restore the function by activating this receptor,” added Adam Howell, MS, co-first author of the study and master fellow in the LAD.

Future for Treatment

Studies like these offer promise to those struggling with binge eating disorder. Binge eating can result in weight gain and digestion issues. Those who binge eats try to control their diet but do not succeed after repeated attempts.

As for now, there are options for those struggling with binge eating disorder. Overeaters Anonymous (OA) is a 12 step fellowship intended to guide those struggling with overeating on a path to recovery. Similar to other 12-step fellowships, OA helps overeaters learn the necessary tools to reduce overeating tendency. They also provide support through a sponsor and steps similar to that of alcoholics anonymous.

Everyone has moments where they overeat or under eat because of stress or pure indulgence. However, the difference between stuffing your face for fun and binge eating is those who binge eats feel all sorts of emotions connected to their overconsumption.

Binge eating is characterized by feelings like:

Depression.
• Grief.
• Anxiety.
• Shame.
• Disgust or self-hatred

Furthermore, the exact cause of binge eating is still unknown. However, most researchers relate binge eating to an emotional imbalance or psychological disorder like anxiety and depression. These emotions cause lots of pain. Often, a binge eater will use food as a coping mechanism. Their brains associate eating with pleasure. Food releases chemicals in the brain that boost dopamine which makes consistently eating more desirable.

Sadly, overeating is unhealthy, and not ideal in the long run. The good news is if you struggle with binge eating, there are treatment plans that do work. Whether the new treatments are effective or not, there are things you can do now to change your eating patterns.

Remember, you are not alone in this struggle. Many people have binge eating compulsions and have overcome them through treatment. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-777-9588.

Author: Shernide Delva

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