Rapid changes in night eating: Considering mechanisms

Albert Stunkard, X. Y. Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


This paper considers possible mechanisms for the Night Eating Syndrome (NES). NES is a disorder characterized by a delay in the circadian rhythm of meals and of several neuroendocrine factors. The disorder occurs in genetically vulnerable people when exposed to stress. No convincing mechanism of the NES has been reported until now. To search for the mechanisms of NES, the long term treatment of two highly perceptive patients with rapid onset of the disorder are described. Disruption of three neuroendocrine systems compatible with these histories are discussed: the glucocorticoid system, the melanocortin system, and the serotonergic system. Current evidence favors the serotonergic system and this view is strongly supported by the great effectiveness of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in the treatment of NES.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e2-e8
JournalEating and Weight Disorders
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Glucocorticoid system
  • Melanocortin system
  • Neuroendocrine factors
  • Night Eating Syndrome (NES)
  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Serotonergic system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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