According to study lead author Dr. Gene-Jack Wang, the dopamine response effectively primes the brain to seek the reward. This pattern is similar to the dopamine response observed in drug-addicted subjects.
The idea that simple willpower is sufficient to change behavior may be undermined by this and other findings on the brain’s involvement in compulsive eating behavior. Those who suffer from binge eating may gain relief knowing that their behavior isn’t a result of flawed character, and treatments may evolve from understanding the neurochemical dynamics of binge eating.
In the past, the notion that binge eating behavior had a neurological basis similar to that of drug addiction was regarded with skepticism; however, the results of this study are particularly credible. Dr. Wang, is a physician at Brookhaven National Laboratory and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and funding was provided by the National Institutes of Health through the intramural program of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism the General Clinical Research Center of Stony Brook University.
Stay tuned for more insights and research results.