Is binge eating a cognitive disorder? Results from the International Mood Disorders Collaborative Project

BACKGROUND: Individuals with binge eating disorder (BED) are differen­tially affected by attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), obesity, and substance use disorder. We have investigated to what extent cognitive deficits are relevant to binge eating behavior (BEB).

METHODS: Data from the International Mood Disorders Collaborative Project were retrospectively and cross-sectionally analyzed to compare individuals with and without BEB on measures of anhedonia and general cognitive functions (n = 566). BEB was assessed using items from the Mini International Neuropsychiatric Interview Plus 5.0.0 for DSM-IV-TR that cor­respond with DSM-5–defined diagnostic criteria for BED. Individuals cur­rently prescribed benzodiazepines were excluded from analyses.

RESULTS: Individuals with BEB were more likely to exhibit anhedonia (P = .044) and general cognitive (P = .005) symptoms, when compared to those without BEB. We also observed that individuals with BEB were more likely to have specific psychiatric (eg, ADHD) and medical (eg, obesity) disorders (P < .05).

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that a central disturbance in cognitive processes may be mechanistically relevant to the cause and treatment of BEB in adults.

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