ADHD

Updated 25 May 2015

ADHD linked to binge-eating disorder in kids

Kids and teens with ADHD may be at a higher risk for a form of binge-eating syndrome, a study suggests.

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Children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have an increased risk of a certain type of eating disorder, according to a new study.

Can't stop eating

The eating disorder is called loss of control eating syndrome (LOC-ES). As the name implies, people with this disorder sometimes can't stop eating, even if they want to, according to the researchers from the Johns Hopkins Children's Centre in Baltimore.

Their study included 79 children between the ages of 8 and 14. The kids were assessed for ADHD and the eating disorder. Those with ADHD were 12 times more likely to have the eating disorder than those without ADHD, the study revealed.

Read: Diagnosing ADHD

Among overweight and obese children, those with LOC-ES were seven times more likely to have ADHD than those without the eating disorder.

Also, children who scored higher on tests of impulsivity were more likely to have the eating disorder, whether or not they had ADHD, according to the study.

More severe form of ADHD

Children with both ADHD and LOC-ES may have a more severe form of ADHD marked by more impulsive behaviour that shows up strongly in their eating habits, said study leader Dr. Shauna Reinblatt in a Hopkins news release.

She is an assistant professor in child and adolescent psychiatry at the university's School of Medicine.

Read: Treating ADHD

Or it may be that children with both ADHD and LOC-ES have a shared underlying risk factor, such as a genetic predisposition to impulsivity, she added.

Further research is needed to learn more about the connection between the two disorders, but doctors should screen for both ADHD and eating disorders, according to Reinblatt.

New treatment strategies

"Our findings underscore the need for developing new treatment strategies that could help target disinhibited eating in kids who have both ADHD and LOC-ES," she said.

The study was published recently in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.

Read More:

Fidgeting may help children with ADHD learn

The ABC of ADHD

Kids of obese moms have elevated risk of ADHD

Image: Kid eating spaghetti from Shutterstock

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Dr. Shabeer Ahmed Jeeva is a specialist psychiatrist who has been practicing child and adult psychiatry for 30 years. He has vast experience in treating ADHD, and is also an ADHD patient himself. Dr. Jeeva trained and practiced in Canada as a child and adult psychiatrist and had lived there for 25 years. He had attended medical school at the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland (1970-1976). His professional experience and accreditation includes: Psychiatric residency at the University of Ottawa (Canada), Child Psychiatry fellowship at the University of Ottawa (Canada), Diploma in Psychiatry at the University of Ottawa (Canada), and Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in Canada. Visit his website at: www.adhdclinicjeeva.com

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