1. Health

Discuss in my forum

Susan Cowden, MS

Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Binge Eating: Is it Right for You?

By June 7, 2012

Follow me on:

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) has a well-documented history of successfully treating Borderline Personality Disorder and other problems with emotional dysregulation.  Clients who are in a DBT group, typically go to a structured therapy group about once a week where they discuss their homework from the previous week and learn new skills.  The four main skill types taught in DBT are mindfulness based skills, interpersonal effectiveness, emotion regulation and distress tolerance.

Several studies have also looked at whether or not DBT may be helpful in treating Binge Eating Disorder, with mixed results.  However, researchers at Stanford University have recently looked into not only whether or not DBT is successful at treating binge eating, but also what types of people it is most successful with.

These researchers found that for clients who have Avoidant Personality Disorder, in addition to binge eating disorder, DBT is more effective than a more general group therapy approach.  DBT is also more effective for clients who had an earlier onset of their eating and weight problems.  In other words, if someone began overeating before they were 15 and/or began dieting around the same time, DBT is going to be a more effective treatment option for them.

Although this is a preliminary study and the results need to be duplicated, it is important information for those who are struggling with symptoms of binge eating disorder.

If you struggle with binge eating, has DBT helped you?

Related Articles:


Robinson, A.H. & Safer, D.L. (2012). Moderators of dialectical behavior therapy for binge eating disorder: Results from a randomized controlled trial. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 45(4). 597-602.

June 8, 2012 at 1:30 pm
(1) Polly @ GetBusyThriving says:

I didn’t use DBT in my recovery from bulimia after 20 years, but it’s interesting what you’ve said here. I believe some of the treatment modalities (mindfulness/awareness training, emotion regulation and distress tolerance) are all a very healthy approach to recovering from an eating disorder. I felt like I didn’t learn a lot of these things when I was young and it took me a long time to come to know them. Had I learned them earlier, I think my recovery road would have been a lot shorter. Just a thought.


Leave a Comment

Line and paragraph breaks are automatic. Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title="">, <b>, <i>, <strike>
  1. About.com
  2. Health
  3. Eating Disorders

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.