Diet and Nutrition

Is Binge Eating Disorder Hereditary?

Is Binge Eating Disorder Hereditary?

Key Takeaways

  • According to research, binge eating disorder, which consists eating uncontrollably even after feeling stuffed, currently seems to run in families
  • One of the ways to incorporate genetics into medical work is to focus on the parents of individuals with binge eating disorder
  • A medical practitioner who does not understand genetic studies will not be in a good position to tell families and patients the genetic studies’ nuances

Family members and patients of binge eating disorder understand that they have been multiple studies on genetic factors that contribute to eating disorders. Qualified, thorough studies on genetic and environmental risk factors can enlighten family members and patients. Misinterpretations, however, can be harmful. A medical practitioner who does not understand genetic studies is not in a good position to advise families and patients on the nuances of genetic studies.

According to research, binge eating disorder, which consists of eating uncontrollably even after feeling stuffed, currently seems to run in families. In addition, part of the obesity epidemic seen nowadays can be attributed to genetic heritage.

Studies have also shown that you are twice as likely to suffer from binge eating disorder if you have a family member who has the same condition. According to studies, 300 individuals who are overweight and almost 900 people from their families discovered that a person is twice as likely to become extremely obese if they have a family member with binge eating disorder.

It is now known that genetic factors play a big role in the development of eating disorders. Studies have also found that there is a higher lifetime occurrence of eating disorders in family members of eating disorders compared to family relatives with normal eating habits. Studies also suggest that being prone to bulimia nervosa and anorexia is greatly influenced by genetic factors.

Despite the fact that a lot of molecular genetics research has been done, scientists have not yet come to a definite understanding of the biological factors that cause eating disorders. Powerful approaches - like the emerging study of genomewide association - could greatly advance this field. In order to look for risk alleles, large collaborative studies are needed, since the effect size of each gene variants is probably negligible. Improvement in genetic studies will help not only in identifying risk alleles, but also opening new practical ways to assist in identifying various risk factors which depend on genotype.

How Does the Heredity Gene Result In An Eating Disorder?

One probably wonders precisely how genes increase your chances of developing an eating disorder?” The formation of genetics over-emphasizes the aspect that determines the genetic risk. Formed after the examples of the Mendelian one gene-one disorder, this misperception originates from the fact there is one gene for anorexia nervosa that indicates high chances of developing the condition. Health practitioners, however, dismiss these myths and instead advocate for clear realistic explanations of how these genes are inherited.

Normally, eating disorders are complex traits. This implies that their patterns for inheritance in families do not follow the patterns of the traditional Mendelian, and that environmental and multiple genetic factors influence them. There is no one gene for bulimia nervosa and one gene for anorexia nervosa. There is a probability that there are several genes that represent proteins which manipulate traits into manifesting a susceptibility to these conditions. This further complicates the risk factor. These genes exist alongside other genetic factors that offer protection, in opposition to eating disorders. The major effects of risk and gene x environments, as well as protective environments, also play a part.

A blind family interview technique was conducted whereby 300 obese people were interviewed. Half of these people suffered from binge eating disorder, while the other half did not. 888 family members of the above selected people were also interviewed. 431 individuals of the 888 people were family members of the people suffering from the binge eating disorder, while 457 people were family members of the people who did not have the eating disorder. No diagnostic information about the selected individuals who were obese was disclosed to the two family interviewers.

87 of the 431 family members of the individuals suffering from the binge eating disorder were found to have a lifetime diagnosis of binge eating disorder as well as 44 out of the 457 family members of individuals without the binge eating disorder.  According to this study, family members of individuals with the binge eating disorder had chances of becoming extremely obese 2.5 times as much, as compared to family members of the individuals without the eating disorder.

The conclusion from this research indicates that whatever genetic factors lead to binge eating disorder, they also play a part in causing severe obesity. Obesity is currently caused by many factors. This study suggests that obesity may be caused by a psychobiological factor, the ones that is connected to impetuous binge eating.

Although the study on genetics is still in its early stages, health practitioners, families and patients know about this research and have difficulties in applying this knowledge into their own understanding of their conditions, assisting patients and relatives to know what this knowledge really means. Although it is easy to understand nurture dichotomies compared to a simplistic nature, they do not capture the density of reality in cases of eating disorders.

Medical Implications

Doctors need to understand how to best incorporate their knowledge of psychology and eating disorders into their medical practice after reviewing the different complex ways that gene result to binge eating disorder. Doctors should determine how to best work with family members and patients to strengthen protective environmental factors, minimize inducing environmental exposures and come up with strategies for patients to reduce the harmful effects that can be caused by environment sensitivity.

The Parents

One of the ways to incorporate genetics into medical work is to focus on the parents of individuals with binge eating disorder. Parents can be educated on genetic factors that influence eating disorders, regardless of whether they are part of traditional family therapy, parent training or other forms of supportive interventions.

An insightful explanation that involves complex genetic etiology and the way that environment and genes interrelate can help eliminate guilt in parents who feel they are responsible for their children’s sickness or have been blamed for contributing to the sickness.

A biological and genetic explanation can assist parents in understanding that the resistance from their children is not due to stubbornness, but that they are fighting a tough battle against their biology. This can empower parents minimize frustration.

The Patients

Although patients read a lot regarding their sickness and find out for themselves about the genetic study on eating disorders, they find it difficult to recognize what the findings mean in their conditions and the challenges they encounter every single day in their recovery process.

The first step in assisting patients is to explain their genetic predispositions to them. Although at first, they may not realize how it applies to their situation, helping them understand how eating disorders and temperamental characters run in their families by using methods like labeling family trees can offer a useful perspective for understanding environmental and genetic contributions to what they are going through.

Understanding how environment and genes interact can offer them an explanation for their condition and understanding their environmental sensitivity. This can offer them the encouragement to acquire skills that may assist in safeguarding them from the surroundings and fight their biology successfully.

Despite the fact that for many years, there was a big debate regarding the power of nurture versus nature on the advancement of psychological characters and outcomes, it has now been widely accepted that genes and the environment work together to influence behavior and personality. The research on risk factors normally involves a wide range of people with different genetic susceptibility to eating disorders. This means that eating disorders can be hereditary.