What is Night Eating Syndrome? Here are 3 Facts

Man eating in front of a refrigerator in the middle of the night

The University of Pennsylvania psychiatrist Albert Stunkard first described this medical condition in the 1950s. Based on a published report in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), experts estimated that about 1.5 percent of the U.S. general population is suffering from night eating disorder.

Here are things you need to know.

What is NES? And how common is it?

Night eating syndrome or NES for short is a medical condition wherein the affected individual tends to consume most of his or her daily calories late in the evening. In some cases, people with NES eat most of the calories throughout the night.

What causes NES?

Unlike other eating disorders, scientists have yet to study NES extensively. But doctors assume the medical condition might be associated with some hormonal issues and the sleeping and waking cycle. What is important is that one’s sleep schedule and sleeping routines do not link to the condition.

Some experts believe that an individual could have higher risks of developing NES if he or she is already suffering from another eating disorder and is most likely overweight or already obese. Other issues including anxiety, depression, family history, and substance abuse relate to the condition.

What are the treatments available for NES?

For those seeking help for eating disorders and treatment, they are now widely available. In some cases, a cognitive behavioral therapy is popular to help people with NES recover from the condition. Treatment programs also involve antidepressants to assist in improving mood and quality of life.

Some treatment plans include fixing the underlying mental disorders and participating in a tailor-fit program that helps promote relaxation and reduction of stressors in daily routines. There are also treatment programs that require the restoration of healthy hormones in the body.

Get the Help You Need

If you suspect that you might be suffering from NES, consult your doctor today and diagnosed. The first step to getting better is to know whether you have it or not and get on with the treatment plan you need.