Exploring Patterns of Disturbed Eating in Psychosis: A Scoping Review Academic Article uri icon

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  • Disturbed eating behaviours have been widely reported in psychotic disorders since the early 19th century. There is also evidence that antipsychotic (AP) treatment may induce binge eating or other related compulsive eating behaviours. It is therefore possible that abnormal eating patterns may contribute to the significant weight gain and other metabolic disturbances observed in patients with psychosis. In this scoping review, we aimed to explore the underlying psychopathological and neurobiological mechanisms of disrupted eating behaviours in psychosis spectrum disorders and the role of APs in this relationship. A systematic search identified 35 studies that met our eligibility criteria and were included in our qualitative synthesis. Synthesizing evidence from self-report questionnaires and food surveys, we found that patients with psychosis exhibit increased appetite and craving for fatty food, as well as increased caloric intake and snacking, which may be associated with increased disinhibition. Limited evidence from neuroimaging studies suggested that AP-na├»ve first episode patients exhibit similar neural processing of food to healthy controls, while chronic AP exposure may lead to decreased activity in satiety areas and increased activity in areas associated with reward anticipation. Overall, this review supports the notion that AP use can lead to disturbed eating patterns in patients, which may contribute to AP-induced weight gain. However, intrinsic illness-related effects on eating behaviors remain less well elucidated, and many confounding factors as well as variability in study designs limits interpretation of existing literature in this field and precludes firm conclusions from being made.


  • Stogios, Nicolette
  • Smith, Emily
  • Asgariroozbehani, Roshanak
  • Hamel, Laurie
  • Gdanski, Alexander
  • Selby, Peter
  • Sockalingam, Sanjeev
  • Graff-Guerrero, Ariel
  • Taylor, Valerie
  • Agarwal, Sri
  • Hahn, Margaret

publication date

  • December 18, 2020