Binge eating and obesity often are present among bipolar patients, but the mood disorder appears to take a different path in those who binge eat than it does in obese bipolar patients who do not, researchers from Mayo Clinic, the Lindner Center of HOPE and the University of Minnesota found.
"Up to 4 percent of Americans have some form of bipolar illness, and of those, just under 10 percent also have binge eating disorder - a higher rate of binge eating than seen in the general population," said co-author Mark Frye, a psychiatrist and chair of the Department of Psychiatry/Psychology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester.
People with bipolar disorder who are obese but do not binge eat are more likely to have serious physical problems such as arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
It was more common for women than men with bipolar disorder to binge eat or to be obese, the study showed. "The illness is more complicated, and then by definition how you would conceptualize how best to individualize treatment is more complicated," Frye said.
"It really underscores the importance of trying to stabilize mood, because we know when people are symptomatic of their bipolar illness their binge frequency is likely to increase. We want to work with treatments that can be helpful but not have weight gain as a significant side effect," Frye said.
The findings are published in the Journal of Affective Disorders.


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