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Science Makes Headway In Search For Treatment For “Sleep Eating” Disorder

April 7, 2010: 03:58 AM EST
Sleep eaters, who account for about one percent of adults suffering from sleep disorders, have a tendency to binge on sugary, high-calorie snacks during the night, all while in a sleepy stupor. The harmful consequences of the disorder, according to experts, can include injuries like black eyes from walking into walls, hand cuts from using kitchen knives, and even dental damage from trying to eat frozen food. On a psychological level, sleep eaters often experience depression, frustration and shame, and may also suffer from binge eating and anorexia. Recent research has begun to shed some light on the biochemical underpinnings for sleep eating, however, and has even pinpointed some possible treatments. Among these are topiramate (Topamax), currently used to treat epilepsy, and drugs that boost dopamine levels.
RANDI HUTTER EPSTEIN, "Raiding the Refrigerator, but Still Asleep", NY Times, April 07, 2010, © The New York Times Company
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