Identification and Management of Night Eating Syndrome in the Adolescent and Young Adult Population

Thomas Lepley, Zachary Schwager, Zaira Khalid

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Night eating syndrome (NES) is a lesser-known eating disorder that can lead to significant morbidity in adults. However, there is little research into the condition and its comorbidities in the adolescent and young adult population. We sought to compile the existing literature on NES in university student populations to aid health care providers in identifying and treating the condition and its symptoms before it causes adverse health outcomes. Methods: We conducted a review of the literature from 2003 to present with no limitations using PubMed and Google Scholar. Search terms were night eating syndrome AND student, yielding 23 articles that were deemed relevant to the review. A manual search of the literature using only night eating syndrome was performed to identify any additional studies not included in the initial search. This search yielded an additional 4 articles of interest, including those related to treatment options. A total of 25 studies were included in the final review. Results: Adolescent patients exhibiting conditions including depression, eating disorders, insomnia, and high levels of stress should be monitored for the development of night eating symptoms. Children of mothers with NES should also be monitored during adolescence, as this confers a higher risk. Interestingly, increased body mass index is not associated with NES in adolescence. Patients that are identified as being at risk should have their comorbid conditions managed medically, while those diagnosed with NES can potentially be treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy and/or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Conclusions: NES is a clinical entity that requires further investigation, especially concerning adolescents and the development of symptoms during the transition into adulthood. More research is needed on the treatment of the syndrome, as several treatments have been studied but none are US Food and Drug Administration approved.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe primary care companion for CNS disorders
Volume24
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 17 2022

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