Monica Seles Speaks Out for Vyvanse, an ADD Drug Approved for Binge Eating Disorder

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In a 2009 interview, Monica Seles told Tara Parker-Pope of the New York Times, “I needed to figure out my emotions….to stop my love hate relationship with food and just have a love relationship with food. After that I could have a love relationship with my body.” Monica was able to fix her BED without Vyvanse, but is now the spokesperson for the drug company’s new campaign. While the pill has been on the market for attention deficit disorder, it has now been approved to treat compulsive overeating in adults.

Monica Seles, is a former number one world professional tennis player, and recovered from a nine-year struggle with compulsive eating herself. Back in 2009 she documented her struggle and recovery in the book Getting a Grip: On My Body, My Mind, My Self. By hearing her story, Monica hopes that other adults with BED will get the support they need. A national campaign was been developed to support the drug’s release, and more information about its role with this disease is found at BingeEatingDisorder.com. There you’ll learn more about BED, the experiences of others, and how to raise the topic with health care providers and loved ones.

What is Compulsive Overeating and Binge Eating?

Compulsive eating is the casual term for Binge Eating Disorder (BED), the most common eating disorder in the US. Estimates suggest there are around 3 million people with this psychiatric disorder; only half of whom are obese. BED is like bulimia nervosa without the purging phase. It is defined by recurrent distressful episodes of eating very large amounts of food when not hungry to the point of feeling uncomfortably full.  For diagnosis, binging must occur at least once a week for three months and the eating has to feel out of control. Shameful feelings usually ensue. Binge eating is rooted in poor body image, low self-esteem and stress.

At high doses, Vyvanse reduced binge-eating events compared to a placebo in two clinical trials that included 724 adults. No one knows exactly how Vyvanse reduces binge eating. Common side effects of the drug are insomnia, increased heart rate, agitation, constipation, and reduced appetite; as well, it is a Schedule II controlled substance with the potential for abuse and dependence.

Some therapists and others who treat BED are skeptical that a pill could be the answer to a problem as complex as BED. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the usual treatment for BED, where patients are guided to first explore and then shift problematic behaviors, to normalize eating patterns, and develop better coping mechanisms.

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