Night Eating Syndrome

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The definition of NES, or Night Eating Syndrome is;

an eating disorder characterized by a delayed circadian pattern of food intake.

For those who don't know what circadian means, it is (of biological processes) recurring naturally on a twenty-four-hour cycle, even in the absence of light fluctuations.

Basically, it's an ED where a person will continously consume food almost nocturnally. Often, an individual will not have an appetite for food during the day, but participate in eating at night. This disorder differs from BED, because it is not experienced in short periods of time. It is also unlike Binge Eating Disorder because a person will eat steadily throughout the night (or while they're awake).

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Some of the signs and specifications are;

1. The person has little or no appetite for breakfast.

2. Delays first meal for several hours after waking up.

3. Is not hungry or is upset about how much was eaten the night before.

4. Eats more food after dinner than during that meal.

5. Eats more than half of daily food intake during and after dinner but before breakfast.

6. May leave the bed to snack at night.

7. This pattern has persisted for at least two months.

8. Person feels tense, anxious, upset, or guilty while eating.

9. Has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.

10. Wakes frequently and then often eats.

11. Foods ingested are often carbohydrates: sugary and starch.

12. This eating produces guilt and shame, not enjoyment.

Currently, to be diagnosed with NES, three of five associated symptoms must be present: lack of morning hunger, urges to eat in the evening/at night, belief that one must eat in order to fall back to sleep at night, depressed mood, and/or difficulty sleeping.

Perhaps only one to two percent (1-2%) of adults in the general population have this problem, but research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine suggests that about six percent of people who seek treatment for obesity have NES. Another study suggests that more than a quarter (27%) of people who are overweight by at least 100 pounds have the problem.

Night-eating syndrome has not yet been formally defined as an eating disorder. Underlying causes are being identified, and treatment plans are still being developed. It seems likely that a combination of biological, genetic, and emotional factors contribute to the problem. Stress appears to be a cause or trigger of NES, and stress-reduction programs, including mental health therapy, seem to help.

Researchers are especially interested in the foods chosen by night eaters. The heavy preference for carbohydrates, which trigger the brain to produce so-called "feel-good" neurochemicals, suggests that night eating may be an unconscious attempt to self-medicate mood problems.

(research done on Wikipedia and anred.com )

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