The ideas in my book are different from mainstream approaches; however, I do not believe therapy is useless. Traditional treatment does help many people with bulimia/binge eating disorder (BED), but it does not come close to curing everyone. This means that there is room for alternative approaches and alternatives are necessary. In Brain over Binge, I provide an alternative; because no one should have to live with an eating disorder, and I believe that more ideas and differing viewpoints only increase the chances of reaching out to and curing everyone. After all, we are all different so it only makes sense that different approaches will work for different people.
Furthermore, conventional therapy is simply not possible for everyone, especially in this poor economy. The average therapy is certainly not cheap. For example, residential care facilities—“home-like” settings where therapy and nutritional counseling are provided along with recreational activities—can cost as much as $1,500 per day, and the average stay can last several months.[i] Outpatient treatment, including therapy and medical monitoring, can cost $100,000 or more.[ii] Many insurance companies to do not cover treatment for eating disorders, which leaves many sufferers in financial crisis.[iii]
Besides being expensive, traditional treatment is not a quick process, nor does it claim to be. Recovery in traditional therapy can take months or it can take several years.[iv] Because therapy is slow-going, many binge eaters are left discontented. Many patients and their families become frustrated with treatment and quit when symptoms don’t resolve quickly.[v] Therapists sometimes interpret this as the patient’s unwillingness to persevere; but this is not necessarily the case. It is true that some who drop out of therapy simply don’t want to recover; but most do—even if they feel unsure about it at times. What these frustrated patients really need is not more stamina to endure the long recovery process, but an easy way to put aside binge eating and get on with life.
[ii]. Eating Disorders Coalition, “Facts About Eating Disorders.”
[iii]. Michel and Willard, When Dieting Becomes Dangerous, 71.
[iv]. Barnhill and Taylor, If You Think You Have an Eating Disorder, 89.
[v]. Michel and Willard, When Dieting Becomes Dangerous, 76.