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Self-Help Better Than Therapy?

I just read an interesting article on CNN that I wanted to share. Apparently, a research study was recently conducted that suggests recovery from binge eating may be as simple as reading the right self-help book! I would love to think a book could actually provide all the answers to a disorder that is finally being recognized in the DSM (hopefully in the next edition), but I worry this will just be another marketing tool that will be abused by publishers to sell their books.

What do you think?

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12 Responses

  1. I’m a big fan of therapies such as emotional/mental counseling as a main part of weight loss treatment. I personally think it’s the most important component.

    With a patient who wants to lose weight, it’s important to ask, “Why do you want to lose weight? What does your weight/food mean to you? Why do you think you’re overweight?” You know, explore where their behaviors and habits come from…

    We do that with patients suffering from other eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, and sometimes I feel like the importance of therapy in treatment for binge eating is downplayed. You wouldn’t give someone who was anorexic a book called “STOP BEING ANOREXIC IN 30 DAYS!” or something.

    That said, I may be biased, being that I’m a dietitian-in-training who basically grew up on the couch. On the flip side, one of my goals is to write accessible books on nutrition (time will reveal the specifics). I think self-help books can be effective as part of a treatment plan, but I’m always suspicious of one-stop-shopping-style claims.

    Haha sorry for the long comment. Thank you for posting that article. Clearly, it was very thought-provoking…

    PS—we met at the Caravan of Dreams meet-up a month or so ago, and I added your blog to my list, in case you were wondering who this random Jess person is : )

  2. [...] Self-Help Better Than Therapy? « A Runner Wife's Life [...]

  3. I think self-help books can be effective as part of a treatment plan, but I’m always suspicious of one-stop-shopping-style claims.

  4. I a m a recovering binge eater and thrower upper. I have not had a binge in 20 years. I owe It all to oa! With the help of my spirituality and the twelve steps, I am living a heathy life with a healthy relantionship with food! It savedy life

  5. I think that self help books can definitely help people jump start recovery but I don’t think they are the sole way to solve the problem!

  6. I was motivated to recover from bulimia by a self-help/wellness book, but I sought therapy after as well to deal with the emotional issues behind the bulimia. I think books can be a good start, but traditional therapy is better.

  7. I think that no matter what, binge eating is about putting food in your mouth and your brain chemicals. If you can distract yourself with a book, great; if you can’t get away from the pantry (because you’re binging) then a book is useless. just my opinion.
    Katherine

    • I agree with you completely. Making that connection that actually gets you out of the pantry and into a different activity really is the key. All the self-help books in the world can’t force you to walk away!

      Thanks for visiting my blog, btw :)

  8. I don’t think that reading a book is enough, no. In my experience, overeating comes from deep rooted issues of anxiety, self-love, self-acceptance, and comfort in one’s body. Certainly, proactive steps towards distraction are good, but they aren’t a substitute for exploring the psychological root of the issue.

  9. Very interesting! I DO think a book is enough (as long as you follow through) because I pulled myself through a pretty awful anorexic/bulimic period of my life with nothing but a book, a lot of prayer/faith, and the support of my family. I’m not saying it’s for everyone, but for me, the book I read kind of woke me up and helped me focus on the larger issues. It really helped me focus on the psychological side of things. I really shyed away from therapy and counseling, so for me, the book was the best option. :-)

  10. [...] have much time for dinner during class. In my post about self-help books being an answer to binge eating, I included the link to the CNN article that mentioned a particular book, “Overcoming Binge [...]

  11. [...] Self-Help Better Than Therapy? « A Runner Wife’s Life [...]

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