Binge eating may cause addictive behaviour

Washington: A history of binge eating -- consuming large amounts of food in a short period of time -- may prompt an individual to show other addictive behaviour, including substance abuse.

"Drug addiction persists as a major problem in the United States," said Patricia Sue Grigson, professor of neural and behavioural Sciences, from Penn State College of Medicine, who led the study.

"Likewise, excessive food intake, like binge eating, has become problematic. Substance abuse and binge eating are both characterized by a loss of control over consumption," said Grigson in his report in the journal Behavioural Neuroscience.

"Given the common characteristics of these two types of disorders, it is not surprising that the co-occurrence of eating disorders and substance use disorders is high. It is unknown, however, whether loss of control in one disorder predisposes an individual to loss of control in another," said Grigson, according to a Penn statement.

Grigson and her colleagues found a link between bingeing on fat and the development of cocaine-seeking and -taking behaviours in rats, suggesting that conditions promoting excessive behaviour toward one substance can increase the probability of excessive behaviour toward another.


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