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Ten percent of bipolar patients also have binge eating disorder


People with bipolar disorder who also binge eat appear to have different mental health outcomes than obese bipolar patients who don't struggle with the eating disorder, according to new research.

A study by the Mayo Clinic, the Lindner Center of HOPE and the University of Minnesota found that just under 10 percent of bipolar patients also have binge eating disorder – a higher rate than what is seen in the general population, said co-author Mark Frye, M.D., a psychiatrist and chair of the Department of Psychiatry/Psychology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

Other mental health issues

The study found that bipolar patients who binge eat are more likely to suffer from co-existing mental health issues like psychosis, anxiety disorders, suicidal tendencies and substance abuse. Bipolar patients who are obese but do not binge eat are more likely to have physical problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease or arthritis.

Since mood stabilization is an important part of preventing binge frequency, Frye noted, it will be essential to come up with treatments that can be effective for bipolar patients without causing weight gain.

"The illness is more complicated, and then by definition how you would conceptualize how best to individualize treatment is more complicated," Frye said in a press release.

Genetic link?

The study also showed that women with bipolar disorder were more likely to binge eat and be obese than men.

Further research is being planned to determine whether or not there is a genetic component involved in the link between bipolar disorder and binge eating disorder – the latter of which was just recently added in the updated version of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) earlier this year.

"Patients with bipolar disorder and binge eating disorder appear to represent a more severely ill population of bipolar patients," said co-author Susan McElroy, M.D., chief research officer at the Lindner Center of HOPE. "Identification of this subgroup of patients will help determine the underlying causes of bipolar disorder and lead to more effective and personalized treatments."

Findings of the study are published online in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

Source: Mayo Clinic