When combined with psychotherapy, medication may be a useful component of eating disorders treatment. For example, while Prozac has been shown to be effective for bulimia, therapy has been shown to have a greater and longer lasting impact. In most cases, we recommend medication be used in conjunction with psychotherapy.
Patients with severe eating disorders may have chemical imbalances, as do patients with depressive, obsessive-compulsive or anxiety disorders. Because these illnesses have a biological component, they often respond to psychotropic drugs. Antidepressants are helpful for eating disordered patients who also suffer from depression, anxiety or obsessions. Antidepressants may also help reduce the frequency of binging and purging. In the last few years, psychiatrists have been prescribing mood stabilizers like Topamax and Zonegran for binge eating and bulimia. Although more research is needed on the effectiveness of these medications, therapists at Lakeview Center have found that some clients with long-standing bulimic symptoms while taking Topamax were able to reduce and even eliminate binging and purging.
For anorexia, antidepressants can help with weight stabilization. Other medications, such as naltrexone (Trexan), a medication that has been helpful in the treatment of addicts, have also shown promise in the treatment of anorexia.
Every individual has a unique brain and personality, so each person responds slightly differently to medication. Sometimes your psychiatrist may try several different medications before she or she finds the one that works best for you. It is important to keep your follow-up appointments so your psychiatrist can determine if your medication is having the optimal effect.
Lakeview Center’s psychiatrists and therapists are familiar with the latest research on medication and eating disorders so we may offer the most effective medication and therapy.
For more information on medication for eating disorders, or to schedule an appointment, call Dr. Robert McCarthy at 773-525-3322, ext. 57