Increase in Teen Binge Eating After COVID


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (Ivanhoe Newswire) – Eating disorders increased in teens and young adults during the pandemic. By some studies, the rates of anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder were up by 15 percent, and despite life returning somewhat to normal, researchers say teen binge eating is still a problem.

An extreme obsession with weight and body image. Eating disorders, especially binge eating, increased among young people during COVID lockdowns and it’s not getting better. teen binge eating

Yale School of Medicine clinical psychologist, Janet Lydecker, PhD emphasizes, “It’s been stressful for kids to go back to school. They’re in a different setting. They’ve missed a year, sometimes two years, of being in person with their peers, and that’s stressful.”

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During a binge, teens consume large amounts of food in a short period of time – as many as one to two thousand calories in one or two hours. The binge is usually followed by feelings of extreme shame or guilt. Lydecker says parents can watch for signs of secretive eating.

“It can be finding wrappers and evidence that the kid has maybe gone to a convenience store and picked up a bunch of snacks on their own. Going to a fast food restaurant, but then eating in the parking lot or going to the convenience store, but eating on the way home,” Lydecker explains.

Teens may have a sudden change in foods they like to eat, or avoid family meals all together. Lydecker says parents should be supportive and look for professional help.

Lydecker adds, “We want to catch eating disorders as young as possible and as quickly after they emerge as possible.”

Lydecker says cognitive behavior therapy is effective in  helping teens regain healthy eating habits.

People who need additional support or information can text or call the National Eating Disorder Hotline (800) 931-2237 or visit and for resources and more information.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Roque Correa, Editor.

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REPORT:       MB #5179

BACKGROUND: Binge eating disorder is a serious eating disorder in which you frequently consume unusually large amounts of food and feel unable to stop eating. Almost everyone overeats on occasion, such as having seconds or thirds of a holiday meal. But for some people, excessive overeating that feels out of control and becomes a regular occurrence crosses the line to binge-eating disorder. Binge eating disorder statistics estimate that the condition affects 2.8 million adults in the U.S. Binge eating disorder prevalence in American adults is estimated at 1.2%, compared to 0.3% for bulimia and 0.6% for anorexia. Approximately 62.6% of the population with binge eating disorder experiences functional impairment, either in social, familial, or professional relations.


DIAGNOSING: Most people with binge-eating disorder are overweight or obese, but you may be at a normal weight. Behavioral and emotional signs and symptoms of binge-eating disorder include: eating unusually large amounts of food in a specific amount of time, such as over a two-hour period, feeling that your behavior is out of control, eating even when you’re full or not hungry, frequently eating alone or in secret, and/or feeling depressed, disgusted, ashamed, guilty, or upset about your eating. To diagnose binge-eating disorder, your medical care provider may recommend a psychological evaluation, including discussion of your eating habits. Your medical care provider also may want you to have other tests to check for health consequences of binge-eating disorder, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes, GERD and some sleep-related breathing disorders. These tests may include: a physical exam, blood and urine tests, and/or a sleep disorder center consultation.


NEW TECHNOLOGY: The FDA has accepted Sunovion Pharmaceuticals’ New Drug Application for dasotraline, a novel dopamine and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, for the treatment of patients with moderate-to-severe binge eating disorder, according to a press release. Dasotraline, an investigational, once-daily medication with a pharmacokinetic profile characterized by an extended half-life, has shown significant efficacy for the treatment of moderate-to-severe binge eating disorder in two 12-week, randomized, placebo-controlled studies, known as SEP360-221 and SEP360-321, according to the release. In addition, dasotraline was generally well-tolerated in clinical studies, including a long-term safety study, which examined patients with binge eating disorder for up to 1 year.



Colleen Moriarty

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Doctor Q and A

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