Nighttime Eating Syndrome

by | Oct 5, 2020 | Addicitions, Anxiety, Depression

Nighttime Eating SyndromeThe nighttime eating syndrome is an eating disorder no doubt but it should not be confused with binge eating. The individuals affected by this particular condition do not binge at other times of the day except at night. They have issues about exercising control over their eating habits and are often plagued with guilt at their conduct. The condition occurs equally in both the sexes and the “National Institute of Mental Health” which states that about 1.5% of the population may suffer from this condition.


There are several reasons for nighttime eating. Many individuals are overachievers who skip lunch in order to continue working. Their body overcompensates by driving them towards food at night, which becomes a habit over time. The same is the case with students who study at night and often feel the need to munch on food. This becomes a habit and is manifested as an eating disorder later on in life. Some of the other factors that are responsible for nighttime eating include:

  • Hormonal problems
  • Stress
  • Following a strict dietary regimen
  • Anxiety & depression
  • Food addiction
  • Lack of sleep


Diagnosing the underlying cause is important before starting on the treatment. Hormonal imbalances as well as sleep apnea can be corrected with the aid of medicines and the individual is often cured of the condition unless there are additional psychological factors contributing to it.

The psychological causes cannot be treated by following a single therapy either. Psychiatrists usually recommend a combination of therapies that include Psychotherapy, Behavioral Therapy, and Nutritional counseling.

The entire process of treating nighttime eating binges starts with the patient slowly being made aware of his/her problem. The affected individuals are often highly intelligent and can identify the different situations that trigger off their problems once they learn to recognize it. Learning about the condition can also help them to get rid of the associated guilt.

The counselor usually makes the patient comfortable and encourages him/her to find out the deep-seated problems within. With the right kind of support and guidance, the individual is able to overcome it gradually. Self-discipline and control are imperative and the counselor guides the patient skillfully towards his goal without being judgmental. Any feeling of being socially unaccepted or inept is driven away as the individual gains self-respect.

A nutritionist is the last person to observe and listen to the patient before chalking out a diet plan that will put the individual firmly in charge and achieve good health in the process.

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