, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 137-144
Date: 23 Nov 2013

The Treatment of Night Eating Syndrome: A Review and Theoretical Model


The treatment of night eating syndrome, a disorder characterized by evening hyperphagia, morning anorexia, and insomnia, continues to gain attention with its inclusion in the DSM-V. Known treatments for NES include pharmacological, phototherapy, weight loss and dietary, and psychological interventions, which, together with the syndrome’s clinical characteristics, support a treatment guiding biobehavioral model. The biobehavioral model proposes that a genetic predisposition, coupled with stress, enhances midbrain serotonin transporter (SERT) binding, which results in lower post-synaptic serotonin, dysregulating circadian rhythms and decreasing satiety. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors should therefore decrease SERT binding, increase postsynaptic serotonin, and restore circadian function and satiety regulation. Psychological interventions may be used to decrease stress as well as address insomnia and circadian rhythm disruptions. Dietary and behavioral interventions may produce beneficial changes in satiety as well as dysregulated eating. Avenues for future treatment outcome studies, including alternative pharmacological and combination therapies, are discussed.

An erratum to this article can be found at http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13679-013-0085-4.