Binge Eating: Put an End to Your Unhealthy Relationship with Food

The causes of compulsive eating are complex but treatments are straightforward and effective

Credit: Flickr/grenade

Binge eaters will keep eating until they’re uncomfortably full

Binge eating, also known as compulsive eating disorder, is a condition characterized by periods of uncontrolled or continuous eating interrupted by periods of fasting or dieting

People struggling with binge-eating disorder are often overweight or obese, which puts them at increased risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, among other health problems. They may eat more quickly than the average person, eat until they’re uncomfortably full, eat when they’re not hungry, or insist on eating alone.

Those with the condition frequently report feelings of disgust or guilt after overeating – feelings that often launch them into a vicious cycle: the more negative the emotions, the greater the need to resort to food for solace.

Causes of Binge Eating

The causes of compulsive eating are complex and include psychological factors such as depression, low self-esteem and loneliness. A history of physical or sexual abuse is not uncommon.

There could be a biological basis as well: some research has found that people with eating disorders have an imbalance of the brain chemicals that control hunger, appetite and digestion.

Treatment for Compulsive Eating Disorder

The good news is that people with a compulsive eating disorder can get better. Treatment typically involves psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy, nutritional guidance and (in some cases) medication such as antidepressants.

If you’re caught up in an unhealthy relationship with food, consult your doctor or a dietitian. It’s the first step to creating a happier and healthier you.

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.