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The Causes of Binge Eating

Binge Eating

  • Binge eating is marked by periods of overeating when a person feels compelled to eat and continue eating without having the power to stop.
  • Depression, dieting and dealing with a lot of stress are a few causes of binge eating.


Have you ever experienced feelings of guilt and shame associated with your inability to stop eating? If so, you may be suffering from binge eating. This is a dangerous disorder that can have serious long-term health consequences. It may also be a symptom of deeper problems which need to be addressed with the help of a professional.

What is Binge Eating?

Basically, binge eating is marked by periods of overeating. However, these are not just periods when someone chooses to indulge. Instead, they feel compelled to eat and continue eating without having the power to stop. The periods may last up to two hours and can stretch out for entire days.

After the binges, sufferers typically feel upset by what has happened. They will try to hide the evidence and are likely to feel ashamed at what they have done. This type of disorder is not marked by a desire to make up for the binging by intentional vomiting or other means.

The National Institute of Health says that about 2 percent of everyone in the United States suffers from binge eating.

Why Do People Binge Eat?

The exact causes of binge eating are not well-known. However, there are some reasons that some people seem to end up going down this path. One of those potential causes is depression. Depression is already a disorder marked by extreme symptoms such as lack of sleep or sleeping too much. When depressed, some people try to self-treat their feelings through food.

Dieting can be another cause. Unhealthy dieting methods, such as skipping meals or not eating a balanced diet, can actually lead to binge eating because your body can feel deprived of essential nutrients.

Other people have trouble dealing with the issues in their lives. When problems or stress arise, they go to food for comfort, and sometimes, this tendency can escalate into full binge eating. This is also one of the reasons why people who have suffered from sexual abuse can sometimes develop binge eating habits.

Research is also suggesting that there may be a genetic component to binge eating. This is suspected because binge eating tends to run in families.

Complications Associated with Binge Eating

When you suffer from binge eating, you are going to be taking in a lot of calories – more than you would be able to work off even through intense exercise in most cases. As a result, you are putting yourself at risk for developing serious health problems including diabetes, heart disease, high and high cholesterol.

Additionally, the weight gain can exacerbate the problems that are causing the binge eating. As you gain weight, it affects your self image. As your self-esteem drops, you may be compelled to eat more. A vicious cycle ensues.

The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.