Researchers find high prevalence of eating disorders in narcoleptics
Washington, Mar 2 : A new study by researchers at the Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center in The Netherlands has found that the majority of patients with narcolepsy/cataplexy experience a number of symptoms of eating disorders, with an irresistible craving for food and binge eating as the most prominent features.
"Hypocretin, the neurotransmitter that is lost in narcolepsy, has been implicated in the regulation of feeding through animal studies. Earlier studies in narcolepsy found a clear increase in body weight. However, we did not find a correlation between binge eating and increased weight.
"Binge eating is apparently not the direct cause of the obesity in narcolepsy, and this suggests that metabolic alterations may be involved.
"Nevertheless, our study shows that the loss of hypocretin function makes narcolepsy patients not only struggle with staying awake, but also destabilizes their eating pattern, which makes it harder to stay away from the candy jar," Dr. Fortuyn added.
Interesting. I've always noticed my absolute craving for bad things is worse when my narcolepsy is worse, but I'd always thought they were part of my body's failed attempt to self-medicate by wanting a short term energy fix, like a Dr. Pepper, to keep me awake. Bad food for me has always been a profit/loss gamble -- what it costs me in energy to make good food at the moments seems to be more important than what it will cost me health-wise to continue eating bad food.
I need to get better at this, but it's nice to know I'm not the only narcoleptic in the world polishing off a box of cookies in some misguided attempt to stay awake.