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

An Erratum to this article was published on 19 December 2013

Abstract

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.

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Jillon S. Vander Wal declares that she has no conflict of interest.

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This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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Vander Wal, J.S. The Treatment of Night Eating Syndrome: A Review and Theoretical Model. Curr Obes Rep 3, 137–144 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13679-013-0078-3

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Keywords

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Eating disorders
  • Hyperphagia
  • Bright light therapy
  • Night eating syndrome
  • Nocturnal ingestions
  • Phototherapy
  • Relaxation therapy
  • Sleep initiation, Maintenance disorders
  • Serotonin uptake inhibitors
  • Sleep disorders