Emotional eating can be a disaster for your health as well as your mental well-being. Individuals who engage in this behavior will compulsively overeat for a variety of reasons, and identifying the exact triggers is crucial to trying to treat and overcome these struggles.
If you're unsure how to identify these triggers, there are a few things to look for according to HelpGuide.org:
- Boredom and feelings of emptiness: Do you sometimes eat out of restlessness? "In the moment, it fills you up and distracts you from underlying feelings of purposelessness and dissatisfaction with your life," HelpGuide notes.
- Habits carried over from childhood: Emotional eaters are prone to overeat as a result of habits learned in childhood, such as rewarding accomplishments, or eating comfort food during sad times. These signs don't necessarily mean a person is a compulsive overeater, but they can be indicative of larger problems if they happen frequently.
- Social conditions: Do social situations make you feel pressure to consume more food than you need to? Many people will overeat when they feel it is necessary to do so in order to win over friends.
- Stress: Emotional eaters will sometimes respond to excessive levels of stress by consuming food even when they aren't hungry.
- Stuffing emotions: Individuals will often overeat as a way of silencing or distracting themselves from unpleasant emotions. These could range from anger, fear and sadness to anxiety, loneliness, resentment, and shame.
For individuals who are struggling with compulsive overeating and emotional eating, you may be a candidate for binge eating disorder treatment from Fairwinds Treatment Center in Clearwater, Florida. Our eating disorder programs, which are managed by Dr. Pauline Powers, are designed to address the emotional issues and mental health problems that lead a person to compulsively overeat. Guests enrolled in our inpatient program will have a chance to meet daily with both a psychiatrist and nutritionist, who will develop a unique program for each patient that focuses on long-term, stabilized recovery.