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Behavioral management of night eating disorders

Authors Berner LA, Allison K

Received 28 December 2012

Accepted for publication 4 February 2013

Published 28 March 2013 Volume 2013:6 Pages 1—8

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/PRBM.S31929

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 4


Laura A Berner,1 Kelly C Allison2

1Department of Psychology, Drexel University, 2Department of Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Abstract: Night eating syndrome (NES) is a form of disordered eating associated with evening hyperphagia (overeating at night) and nocturnal ingestions (waking at night to eat). As with other forms of disordered eating, cognitive and behavioral treatment modalities may be effective in reducing NES symptoms. This review presents evidence for a variety of behavioral treatment approaches, including behavioral therapy, phototherapy, behavioral weight loss treatment, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. A more detailed overview of cognitive-behavioral therapy for NES is provided. All of these studies have been case studies or included small samples, and all but one have been uncontrolled, but the outcomes of many of these approaches are promising. Larger randomized controlled trials are warranted to advance NES treatment literature. With the inclusion of NES in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) as a “Feeding or Eating Disorder Not Elsewhere Classified,” more sophisticated, empirically-supported, behaviorally-based treatment approaches are much needed.

Keywords: night eating syndrome, cognitive-behavioral treatment, phototherapy, behavioral weight loss, behavior therapy

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