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Binge Eating in Adults Improves Over Time, but Relapse Common

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And full remission often takes many years

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, May 31, 2024 (HealthDay News) — Binge-eating disorder (BED) does improve over time; however, remission often takes many years, according to a study published online May 28 in Psychological Medicine.

Kristin N. Javaras, Ph.D., from McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, and colleagues examined changes in BED diagnostic status in a prospective, community-based study. The analysis included probands and relatives with a current diagnosis of BED (156 participants) from a family study of BED with follow-up at 2.5 and five years.

The researchers found that at 2.5 years, 61.3 percent showed full BED, 23.4 percent showed subthreshold BED, and 15.3 percent showed no BED; the corresponding values at five years were 45.7, 32.6, and 21.7 percent. At follow-up, no participants displayed anorexia or bulimia nervosa. Median time to remission (no BED) was >60 months, while median time to relapse (subthreshold or full BED) after remission was 30 months. Using baseline demographic and clinical variables, two classes of machine learning methods did not consistently outperform random guessing at predicting time to remission.

“As a clinician, oftentimes the clients I work with report many, many years of binge-eating disorder, which felt very discordant with studies that suggested that it was a transient disorder,” Javaras said in a statement. “It’s very important to understand how long binge-eating disorder lasts and how likely people are to relapse so that we can better provide better care.”

Several authors disclosed ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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