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Am J Psychiatry. 2006 Dec;163(12):2181-3.

Binge eating disorder: a stable syndrome.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School and McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA 02478, USA.



This study assessed the stability of binge eating disorder in a community sample.


The authors interviewed 888 first-degree relatives of 300 overweight or obese probands (150 with binge eating disorder and 150 with no lifetime eating disorder) who were recruited during a family study. They compared the total duration of illness among relatives with lifetime diagnoses of binge eating disorder (N=131), bulimia nervosa (N=17), and anorexia nervosa (N=18).


The mean lifetime duration of binge eating disorder was 14.4 years (SD=13.9), significantly longer than for either bulimia nervosa (mean=5.8 years, SD=9.1) or anorexia nervosa (mean=5.9 years, SD=7.4). These differences changed little when analysis was restricted to female relatives or to relatives of the probands with no lifetime eating disorder.


These findings suggest that binge eating disorder is at least as chronic as the well-validated disorders anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa and likely represents a stable syndrome.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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