By Thomas Insel on February 24, 2012
National Eating Disorders Awareness Week starts February 26. Dr. Insel discusses some surprising facts about these disorders, which are among the most fatal.
Biological changes associated with puberty may influence the development of binge eating and related eating disorders, according to a recent study on female rats conducted by NIMH-funded researchers.
About 3 percent of U.S. adolescents are affected by an eating disorder, but most do not receive treatment for their specific eating condition, according to an NIMH-funded study published online ahead of print March 7, 2011, in the Archives of General Psychiatry.
Women with bulimia nervosa (BN), when compared with healthy women, showed different patterns of brain activity while doing a task that required self-regulation. This abnormality may underlie binge eating and other impulsive behaviors that occur with the eating disorder, according to an article published in the January 2009 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.
Eating disorders, which include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder, are complex and often life-threatening illnesses.
Reviews of the current research on psychosocial and behavioral therapies, or psychotherapies, for children and adolescents found a number of "well established" and "probably efficacious" treatments for many mental disorders. For example, six were "probably efficacious" for anxiety disorders, and two were "well established" for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), according to scientists funded by NIMH and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, divisions of the National Institutes of Health.