Eating disorders are characterised by an abnormal attitude towards food that causes someone to change their eating habits and behaviour. A person with an eating disorder may focus excessively on their weight and shape, leading them to make unhealthy choices about food with damaging results to their health. Eating disorders include a range of conditions that can affect someone physically, psychologically and socially. The most common eating disorders are:
• anorexia nervosa – when a person tries to keep their weight as low as possible; for example, by starving themselves or exercising excessively
• bulimia – when a person goes through periods of binge eating and is then deliberately sick or uses laxatives (medication to help empty the bowels) to try to control their weight
• binge eating disorder (BED) – when a person feels compelled to overeat large amounts of food in a short space of time
The exact cause of eating disorders is unknown. As with other mental illnesses, there may be many causes, such as: Genetics, Psychological and emotional health, Society
Lisdexamfetamine dimesylate (Vyvanse), a drug that's used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, is now approved to treat binge-eating disorder in adults. This drug is the first FDA-approved medication to treat moderate to severe binge-eating disorder. Vyvanse is a stimulant and can be habit-forming and abused. Common side effects include dry mouth and insomnia, but more serious side effects can occur.
Several other types of medication may help reduce symptoms. Examples include: • The anticonvulsant topiramate (Topamax): Normally used to control seizures, topiramate has also been found to reduce binge-eating episodes. However, there are side effects, such as dizziness and kidney stones, so discuss the risks and benefits with doctor. • Antidepressants: Antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may be helpful. It's not clear how these can reduce binge eating, but it may relate to how they affect certain brain chemicals associated with mood. • Behavioral weight-loss programs • Many people with binge-eating disorder have a history of failed attempts to lose weight on their own. However, weight-loss programs typically aren't recommended until the binge-eating disorder is treated because dieting may trigger more binge-eating episodes, making weight loss less successful.