Binge Eating Disorder Specialist: What to Look For When Interviewing Providers

Binge eating disorder (BED) is the most common eating disorder in the U.S. It involves recurrent episodes of bingeing, when a person eats an excessive amount of food over a short period of time with a feeling of being out of control. Binges are used to numb or cope with distressing emotions, but are inevitably followed by feelings of guilt and shame afterward. Binge eating disorder is not a lack of willpower or a matter of simply overeating: it is a serious eating disorder that requires specialized treatment by a binge eating disorder specialist or team of specialists. Read on to learn more about what a binge eating disorder specialist does and what to look for in one.

Binge eating disorder specialists are healthcare providers who are specially trained in treating patients with binge eating disorder. The term could refer to a number of different provider types, including medical doctors, dietitians, therapists, psychiatrists, and nurses. A binge eating disorder specialist will help you stop the disordered behaviors associated with your BED—like binge eating and restricting—as well as address the emotional and psychological components of the eating disorder.

What to look for in a binge eating disorder specialist

Working with a binge eating disorder specialist is key to achieving lasting recovery, but it can be difficult to find a qualified provider or providers near you. Fortunately, research shows that virtual treatment for eating disorders is as effective as in-person care, which widens your pool of potential treatment options. Whether you pursue treatment online or in-person, there are some important factors you’ll want to consider to help you make an informed decision.

  • Specialized training: A good binge eating disorder specialist will have advanced training beyond the training and experience required for their license (MD, RD, PhD, MFT, LMHC, etc). Look for clinicians with credentials in the field of eating disorders and experience working specifically with BED patients. A top-notch provider team will include a range of experts in their respective fields, which could include a specialized therapist, medical provider, and dietitian. Specialists may also have certifications relating to BED. Their expertise can help ensure a deep understanding of your condition and its nuances and how to best help you reach lasting recovery.
  • Extensive experience: When it comes to choosing a specialist, hands-on experience is also important. Look for clinicians with experience treating other people with BED, as this experience means that they’re better equipped to manage the complexities of your eating disorder. Working with BED patients in the past means that they understand the unique nature of the illness and will be able to tailor treatment to your specific needs.
  • Compassion: The best binge eating disorder specialists know that humanity is a core part of treatment. They’ll bring compassion to treatment, guiding you through the hard work of recovery with empathy and support. BED is often a misunderstood diagnosis—many uneducated providers may unintentionally worsen BED by prescribing weight loss—so it’s important to find a provider who understands the nuances of BED and follows a Health at Every Size approach.
  • Customized treatment: Like all eating disorders, BED looks different from person to person, and so there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment. A good binge eating disorder specialist will offer personalized treatment, tailoring your treatment plan to your specific needs, challenges, and life circumstances. This includes considering factors such as co-occurring conditions, as well as your lifestyle, personal preferences, and emotional struggles. With a virtual care format, your treatment can also be highly flexible and tailored to your schedule.
  • Collaboration: All eating disorders are best treated through a multidisciplinary approach, so look for a binge eating disorder specialist who works with other providers. The makeup of a provider team can vary, but you’ll usually want at least a registered dietitian, a licensed therapist, and a medical provider, all of whom have experience treating BED and communicate with one another. At Equip, all patients are matched with a dedicated 5-person care team that works together to address every facet of the illness.
  • Evidence-based practices: Not all eating disorder treatment is based on evidence. Look for a binge eating disorder specialist who integrates proven therapeutic modalities for treating BED. Enhanced cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT-E) is one example of a strong evidence-driven BED treatment for adults. Providers might also turn to dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) and family-based treatment (FBT), among other approaches.
  • Accessibility: Consistency is key in BED treatment. To ensure adherence to your treatment plan, it helps to have treatment that’s accessible and integrated into your life. With virtual care, you don’t need to worry about planning transportation for each session or being in a specific physical place to receive treatment. Being able to work with binge eating disorder specialists from your home, work, or school can help you keep up with treatment that aligns with your personal schedule.

Eating disorder specialists at Equip

If you’re struggling with binge eating, it’s not due to a lack of willpower or personal failure. BED is a serious eating disorder that requires professional treatment from binge eating disorder specialists. At Equip, our providers have years of training and experience in treating a variety of eating disorders, including BED.

Get in touch with our team today for more information about binge eating disorder treatment at Equip or to schedule a free consultation.

Randy Smith
Content Writer
Clinically reviewed by:
Pepper Snider, LMHC
Therapist at Equip
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