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ADHD linked to higher risk of eating disorder in children, teens

ADHD linked to increased risk of LOC-ES in kids, teens

Children who have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at increased risk for a certain type of eating disorder, according to a new study conducted by researchers from the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore, Maryland.


People with the eating disorder, called loss of control eating syndrome (LOC-ES), are sometimes unable to stop eating, even if they want to.

The study included 79 children between the ages of 8 and 14 who were assessed for ADHD and LOC-ES. Those with ADHD were 12 times more likely to have LOC-ES than those without the ADHD, the researchers found.

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

Study lead author Dr. Shauna Reinblatt, an assistant professor in child and adolescent psychiatry at the university’s School of Medicine, said children who had both ADHD and LOC-ES may have a more severe form of ADHD that is marked by more impulsive behaviors, which shows up strongly in their eating habits.

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Children who scored higher on tests of impulsivity were more likely to have LOC-ES, whether or not they had ADHD. However, Dr. Reinblatt said children who have ADHD and LOC-ES may have an underlying risk factor, such as a genetic predisposition to impulsivity.

Reinblatt said more research is needed to learn about the connection between ADHD and LOC-ES, but doctors should screen for ADHD and eating disorders.

“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 first published online in the International Journal of Eating Disorders on April 9.

According to the CDC, ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders of childhood, and often lasts into adulthood. As of 2011, approximately 11 percent of children in the United States between the ages of 4 and 17 (64 million) have been diagnosed with ADHD.



The title of this article is somewhat misleading and should read; 'Eating disorders linked to ADHD in children.' Dr Iris Chen writes; 'Significantly, research has shown that many critical food deficiencies could cause the problem. These could be as varied as deficiency of essential omega 3 fatty acids, antioxidant vitamins like vitamin C, iron and zinc. Children with ADHD may also be more likely to suffer from food allergies. They could be losing vital vitamins, iron and even zinc because of their allergy to dairy products, wheat, corn, yeast, soy, citrus, eggs, chocolate, peanuts and artificial colors and preservatives. It has been seen that children with ADHD lose zinc when exposed to a food dye. In a study that eliminated these allergens in the diet of some children, the majority of the children showed lower levels of hyperactivity. Once these were added back to diet, the problems associated with ADHD once again returned. ' (Dr. Iris Chen) Food allergy reaction starts; 'in the amygdala, which triggers a neural response in the hypothalamus. The initial reaction is followed by activation of the pituitary gland and secretion of the hormone ACTH. The adrenal gland is activated almost simultaneously and releases the neurotransmitter epinephrine. The release of chemical messengers results in the production of the hormone cortisol, which increases blood pressure, blood sugar, and suppresses the immune system. 'During the reaction, the intensity of emotion that is brought on by the stimulus will also determine the nature and intensity of the behavioral response. Individuals with higher levels of emotional reactivity may be prone to anxiety and aggression, which illustrates the implications of appropriate emotional reaction in the fight or flight response.' (Fight or flight, Wikipedia)