BOOK REVIEWS: Binge-Eating Disorder

Reprinted from Eating Disorders Review
July/August 2008 Volume 19, Number 4
©2008 Gürze Books

Binge-Eating Disorder

Clinical Foundations and Treatment
Authors: James E. Mitchell, Michael J. Devlin, Martina de Zwaan, Scott J. Crow and Carol B. Peterson
214 pages, $30.00
©2007 Guilford Publications
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Now that good nationally based epidemiological research has shown conclusively that binge-eating disorder is the most prevalent eating disorder in the U.S., this still-to-be legitimized eating disorder (in DSM terms) is starting to get the respect it deserves. In this scholarly but practical review of the syndrome and its treatment, five of the most authoritative clinician-researchers working in the field have compiled an excellent volume that all who work with patients with binge-eating disorder will want to own and study.

The book essentially consists of two parts. The first part contains thorough introductions to the diagnosis, epidemiology, clinical features, longitudinal course, and psychopathology of binge-eating disorder. It discusses the relationship of binge-eating disorder and obesity; the psychobiology, medical risks and pharmacotherapy of binge eating disorder; and psychotherapy for binge eating disorder. It concludes with a few intriguing pages on “binge-eating disorder and the future” that lays out unanswered questions and important clinical issues that require additional research and study. These chapters are thoughtful, evidence-based, measured in their summaries, very current, and well illustrated, tabled, and referenced.

For me, the “grabber” of the book is Part II, consisting of a fully-formed, nicely packaged, cognitive-behavioral treatment (CBT) program for binge-eating disorder based on the CBT model developed and used in several major randomized clinical trials at the University of Minnesota and the Neuropsychiatric Research Institute in Fargo, ND. This manual spells out the conceptual underpinnings, broad aims and specific goals and strategies of the therapy, and then provides session-by-session, step-by-step therapist guidelines for each of the 15 sessions of the treatment. These guidelines include an agenda for session content, a list of materials needed for each session (handouts and worksheets), and sample forms. All the patient materials, specifically the 43 different handouts, worksheets and planning sheets employed in the program, are reproduced and provided. Those of you who are new to CBT for binge-eating disorder and looking for a clear entry point will do no better. Those of you who are veteran CBT practitioners will still want a copy of this book to read in detail. You’ll undoubtedly want to compare your current practices with those described here. I’m certain that all will find much to value in this welcome work.

– J.Y.

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