Is your eating out of control? Are you constantly binge eating? Click here to discover the 3 main causes of binge eating and how to get professional help.
Do you find yourself thinking about food all the time? Do you often eat until you feel sick? If these symptoms sound familiar, you might be one of the 2.8 million sufferers of binge eating disorder.
If you haven’t heard of BED, you’re not alone. BED has only been recognized with a formal diagnosis since 2013, and psychology experts are still learning what the causes of binge eating are.
There is a solution on the horizon. If you’re suffering from unhealthy food habits, read on to learn more.
The Causes of Binge Eating
While the symptoms of BED can vary somewhat from person to person, the three main causes of binge eating link back to development, emotional factors, and societal influence.
Developmental & Biological Factors
Our biology can affect our risk level of developing BED. The appetite control center of our brains, the hypothalamus, could be sending mixed messages about our hunger levels. People with BED are likely to have a parent with BED or a history of substance abuse, which suggests there may be a genetic component to the disorder.
Our childhood development can also have an impact on binge eating. Childhood trauma and negative experiences can have long-lasting effects on self-esteem and are closely associated with binge eating disorder development.
Divorce, death in the family, and patterns of abuse can manifest as issues such as BED later in life. Unhealthy family eating can also impact our attitudes toward food.
Cultural pressure to be thin can cause eating to become a very emotional and shameful experience for some. Messages about dieting, extreme weight-loss, and the drive for perfection have a negative impact on a person’s body image.
Parents who are critical toward children about their physical appearance may make them vulnerable to body issues later in life. Unwitting parents sometimes use food as a reward, coping mechanism, comfort, or even distraction. This dependency and psychological attachment to food can cause us to have unhealthy relationships with what we put in our bodies.
Depression and anxiety are closely linked with binge eating and other eating disorders. 44% of those with bipolar disorder have trouble with eating control as well.
Struggles with self-worth can cause us to seek out common comforts, such as the reward of food. Weight gain can fuel body image issues and depressive episodes, which creates a cycle of food shame and dependency.
Many depressed individuals are at risk of self-harm, and food can be one way to impose such harm. Binge eating to the point of sickness can be a painful experience, which can be a way for a depressed person to punish themselves.
Help Is Available
If you have BED, it isn’t your fault. It’s important to recognize that the causes of binge eating weren’t your choice. You can choose, however, to seek help.
Many options exist for therapy, nutritional help, support groups, and more. Incorporating healthy activities and habits, as well as addressing any past trauma and triggers of your binge eating, can get you on the road to recovery.
Don’t be afraid to reach out. Addressing the underlying issues of your binge eating will help you develop a more positive relationship with food and your body.
If you’ve made a resolution to change your relationship with food, why not enlist your smartphone to help you? Check out our guide on the best health and wellness apps for your physical and mental wellbeing.