Treatment of night eating syndrome.
Although treatment research for NES remains limited, several options are available for patients whose symptoms require clinical attention. Pharmacotherapy has received the most empirical support of the proposed treatments. Controlled trials are needed to confirm the initial results from pilot studies with CBT, behavioral therapy, and phototherapy, and an extended controlled trial of progressive muscle relaxation would be useful. In their comprehensive review of the field, Striegel-Moore and colleagues have questioned the clinical utility of NES as a diagnostic entity and stress the very limited nature of treatment studies to date. Research in this field has to provide a systematic examination of the approaches described here, as well as others yet to be identified. This pursuit seems warranted given that persons suffering with the cluster of symptoms identified as NES are approaching health care providers for relief and are often frustrated by the lack of recognition of this syndrome. Future studies should test a wider variety of medications that would target serotonin or the circadian timing of eating. Additionally, trials comparing and combining medication treatments and CBT (or progressive muscle relaxation alone) would also be useful in addressing which treatment should be used as a first line treatment. With NES being considered for inclusion as a Feeding and Eating Condition Not Elsewhere Classified (FEC-NEC) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, it is likely that more clinical attention and studies will address these important issues in the coming years.