Date of Award


Document Type

Doctoral Research Paper

Degree Name



Graduate School of Professional Psychology

First Advisor

Jessica Bartley, Psy.D.

Second Committee Member

Lynett Henderson Metzger, Psy.D., J.D.

Third Committee Member

Lisa Brownstone, Ph.D.


Binge eating disorders, Treatment, Biology

Publication Statement

Copyright held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 International License.


The concerningly low recovery and high cross over rates of eating disorders with binge eating behaviors suggests there might be a missing element in current treatment approaches commonly used to address eating disorders. Research supports the existence of significant biological correlation between disorders that are characterized by binge eating behaviors. This paper examines some of the biological processes in which these disorders show the most significant correlations. These include the organism’s response to caloric restriction, the brain’s response to feeding, the biological drive for reproduction, sensory association to feeding, and habituated responding to the feeding process. Additionally, we will explore three of the most common treatment modalities used to treat eating disorders and identify areas in which they may fail to address the biological underpinnings of these disorders. We then use these limitations to propose a novel treatment approach that combines the benefits of enhanced cognitive behavioral therapy with the targeted physiological treatment of appetite awareness training and prescriptive eating to create a more targeted, disorder specific modality based on the biological nuances that appear to maintain binge eating behaviors.


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