What Are the Psychological Reasons for Binge Eating?

What Are the Psychological Reasons for Binge Eating?

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Have you found yourself asking, “why do I randomly binge eat?” There are plenty of binge eating causes and it can be tough to narrow down the causes in individual cases. It’s ok to occasionally consume large amounts of food when you’re with friends or want to treat yourself to a good meal. But binge eating disorder is more than just eating a lot of food; many binge eating causes revolve around human psychology. Read on to explore some overeating causes and learn when it’s time to seek treatment at an eating disorder treatment center like Shoreline.

What Causes Binge Eating?

So, what causes binge eating? Exact binge eating causes aren’t well known, but there are some reasons and situations that may increase an individual’s risk of developing binge eating disorder. For example, some individuals with a family history of binge eating are more at risk of suffering from the condition. Additionally, there are specific psychological binge eating causes that can make someone feel out of control while eating. Some studies even show individuals who won’t stop binging have abnormal dopamine levels in their brains.

If you’ve asked yourself, “why do I randomly binge eat?”, experts believe these the following overeating causes are the most common:

  • Genetics
  • Psychological reasons
  • Societal norms and cultural influences

The Psychological Connection

Binge eating disorder usually occurs in individuals with low self-esteem, poor body image, or feelings associated with a lack of purpose or loneliness. These aspects can also lead to other mental health disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorder, and mood disorders. Most of the time, binging isn’t really about the food. Instead, individuals are using food to cope with feelings of numbness and stress, leading to what may feel like an endless cycle. Some psychological reasons for binge eating are because an individual feels empty/a lack of emotion, is responding to a trauma, or is under a high level of stress.

Emptiness and Lack of Emotion

One reason people binge eat is to “feel something.” Individuals who feel like their lives lack purpose overeat to provide meaning. Eating behaviors are one of the few things in life we have direct control over, and all it takes is a few bites of cake or pie to please the brain. The opposite can be true for those with other eating disorders that lead to undereating. Individuals who undereat sometimes do so to exhibit strength and an ability to control their bodies. Finding a positive purpose in life is one of the best treatment options for individuals who binge eat due to emptiness.

Trauma Response

Another reason people binge eat is in response to life traumas. In these cases, it’s less about the food and more about the experience of eating it. Maybe as a child, you were told to avoid certain foods, or you remember the pleasure you felt while eating a snack late at night. Binge eating can feel like you’re finally fighting back and rebelling against the system that stopped you from doing what you loved. However, it’s important to remember to live in the present and understand the life and the body you currently have.

High Stress Levels

Have you ever found yourself craving a nice snack or meal while on the job or in a stressful situation? Food is pleasurable, and as a result, we view it as a release from life’s stressors. Our body sometimes views sugar cravings as a small “break,” and it’s easy to see how someone who deals with stressful situations daily can endure a loss of control with their food consumption. Instead of bingeing, it may help to take a quick walk or even meditate for a couple of minutes.

Take Back Control With Help From Shoreline

Regardless of the overeating causes, the most important way to combat binge eating disorder is binge eating disorder treatment. At Shoreline, we have specially designed treatment options to help individuals struggling with binge eating disorder and other eating disorders. If you or a loved is struggling with an eating disorder, we’re here to help. Call us at 562-434-6007 or complete our contact form.