Large Study of Binge-Eating Disorder Is a First

By Lovinger, Sarah Pressman | Clinical Psychiatry News, March 2007 | Go to article overview

Large Study of Binge-Eating Disorder Is a First


Lovinger, Sarah Pressman, Clinical Psychiatry News


CHICAGO -- Treatment outcomes for obese patients with binge-eating disorder differ by disease severity and negative affect, a large study of patients with this disorder shows.

"We are trying to identify a particular subset of the population [that responds to a particular treatment]," Denise E. Wilfley, Ph.D., director of the Weight Management and Eating Disorders Program at Washington University in St. Louis, said at the annual meeting of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies.

The study evaluated three treatments for binge-eating disorder (BED): interpersonal therapy (IPT), behavioral weight loss (BWL), and guided self-help (GSH). "This is the first study to compare three different treatments for binge-eating disorder," Dr. Wilfley said. Participants were also stratified by high versus low negative affect and by severity of bingeing.

According to the DSM-IV, people with BED eat a large amount of food with loss of control on at least 2 days a week for at least 6 months; they do not regularly engage in compensatory behaviors.

Dr. Wilfley said people with this disorder tend to have low self-esteem and very high rates of health care use, traits similar to people with anorexia and bulimia nervosa. But unlike people with those conditions, people with BED are more likely to be male and less likely to be white. Given the large amount of food they consume, people with BED are associated with overweight or obesity. "They're not just obese individuals," said Dr. Wilfley, also professor of psychiatry at the university. "They are obese individuals with an eating disorder."

The trial involved 205 participants and was conducted at three sites: Stanford (Calif.) University (data coordinating center), Washington University (clinical site), and Rutgers University (clinical site) in Piscataway, N.J. Participants were at least 18 years old, met the DSM-IV criteria for BED, and had a body mass index (BMI) between 27 and 45 kg/[m.sup.2]. Patients who had a psychiatric or physical impairment that would preclude full participation, such as active suicidality, were excluded. Of the participants, 85% were female, and the average age was 48.5 years.

In terms of race, 82% were white, 13% were black, 4% were Hispanic, and 1% was Native American. Slightly more than half of the participants were college educated, and the average BMI among the participants was 36. …

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