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Unpacking the psychological factors that contribute to binge eating

During feasts or parties with friends and family, we often find ourselves treating ourselves to a hearty meal which might seem like we are overindulging. However, binge eating disorder goes beyond eating large amounts of food and has a deeper connection with the human psyche. This article covers everything you need to know about the psychological factors of binge eating and when to seek professional help for the same.

What is Binge Eating Disorder?

Binge Eating Disorder is a common psychological condition where a person overindulges in eating large quantities of food and loses control. It is completely normal for such an incident to happen once or twice but if it becomes frequent, it is a cause of concern and will require professional intervention.

The condition usually occurs in the late teens or early 20s but it can be found in older adults and children as well. There are numerous interlinking causes of Binge Eating and could vary from biological to environmental to psychological. Every individual is unique and the cause of Binge Eating will vary from person to person so will the amount of food intake which is considered excessive.

Psychological Factors Which Cause Binge Eating

Individuals with a low sense of self-worth, poor body image, or emotions related to loneliness are more likely to develop binge eating disorders. Additionally, these elements can result in other mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Bingeing is frequently not about the food. Instead, people are turning to food as a coping mechanism for stress and numbness, which can feel like an endless loop. The following are some of the most common psychological causes of  eating:

Extreme levels of Stress

Have you ever felt the need for a tasty snack while working under pressure? Since eating is enjoyable, we see it as a way to relax after a stressful day. Our bodies occasionally perceive sugar cravings as a brief “break,” so it’s understandable how someone who regularly faces stressful conditions can experience a loss of self-control when it comes to food intake. Take a little walk or maybe try some short-term meditation as a substitute for bingeing.

Feelings empty or lacking emotions

People sometimes overeat to “feel something.” This is true for individuals who feel like their lives are meaningless and turn to food for comfort. One of the few things in life that we have direct control over is our eating habits, and all it takes is a small portion of cake or pastry to make the brain happy. For those who suffer from various eating disorders that cause undereating, the opposite may be true. Sometimes people who undereat do so to show their strength and control over their bodies. One of the best ways to assist people who binge eat out of emptiness is to help them discover a meaningful purpose in life.

Restricting Diet

It has been demonstrated that dietary restraint, which is the deliberate endeavour to limit food intake for weight control, can forecast binge eating. Dieting increases obsession with food and eating, and it also badly affects body image issues, which is why it promotes binge eating. In addition, extended dieting attempts can lead to physiological and psychological depletion, which increases the risk of loss of control eating.

Poor Body Image

People who have binge eating disorders might find numerous flaws in their physical appearance or overall health. Some people have an inaccurate perception of how they truly appear. This is especially true among women because of the unrealistic beauty standards set by social media. According to the National Institutes of Health, episodes of binge eating and loss of control are linked to dissatisfaction with one’s body in adolescents and young children. People with binge eating disorders may eat normally in public or social settings because they think this is what is expected of them. But when they’re alone, they’ll overeat.

Response to a traumatic situation

Traumatic experiences in life are another factor that contributes to binge eating. In some situations, the experience of consuming the food is more important than the actual dish itself. Perhaps you recall being advised as a child to stay away from particular foods or the joy you experienced when enjoying a late-night snack. Binge eating can give you the impression that you are finally revolting and retaliating against the system that forbade you from doing the things you liked. But it’s crucial to remain mindful of the moment and appreciate your life and physical state.

Treatment for Binge Eating Disorder

The treatment for Binge Eating Disorder will look different for everyone based on their needs and preferences.

One of the most effective treatments for binge eating disorder is talk therapy. You can discuss the underlying causes of your problem with a trustworthy therapist, including any trauma or mental health issues that might be influencing how you feel and act.

A nutritionist who is knowledgeable about binge eating disorders may also develop a regular eating plan that supports nourishment and also takes into account your mental health.

Therefore, a course of treatment might include treatments for co-occurring illnesses, such as pharmaceuticals for depression, interpersonal psychotherapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and other behavioural therapies.

Binge eating disorders might seem challenging but they are curable. For those battling with binge eating disorder and other eating disorders, Athena OAKS has specialised treatment plans which are reliable, effective and designed especially to suit the needs of women. With our dedicated professionals ensuring the utmost safety and gender-specific treatment setting, women patients feel much more comfortable expressing their concerns and seeking the help they deserve. To learn more about our treatment options, contact us at 9289730444 or drop us an email at and our representative will get in touch with you shortly.

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