• By Dana Sparks

Bipolar Disorder Takes Different Path in Patients Who Binge Eat

July 25, 2013


Bipolar disorder evolves differently in patients who also binge eat, according to a study by Mayo Clinic, the Lindner Center of HOPE and the University of Minnesota. Binge eating and obesity are often present among bipolar patients, but researchers discovered the mood disorder appears to take a different path in those who binge eat than it does in obese bipolar patients who do not.

Study co-author Mark Frye, M.D., a psychiatrist and chair of the Department of Psychiatry/Psychology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, says, “The illness is more complicated, and then by definition how you would conceptualize how best to individualize treatment is more complicated. 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.”

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. The findings are published online in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

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Journalists: Sound bites with Dr. Frye are available in the downloads

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