Do you frequently eat large amounts of food without being able to control what or how much you’re eating? Do you eat significantly faster than you usually would? Do you eat until you’re uncomfortably full? Do you eat despite not being physically hungry? Do you diet frequently?

If you said yes to three or more of the above questions, you are prone to binge eating.

Binge eating is a type of eating disorder characterized by periods of noticeable overeating. Unlike bulimia, binge eating does not involve eventual purging.

While binge eating is obviously a serious health concern by itself, it can be indicative of something more sinister.

You may be suffering from clinical depression.

While there isn’t any conclusive evidence to prove that depression directly causes binge eating, the two do display strong correlation. While that might also imply that binge eating leads to depression, or that a separate related factor is responsible for both conditions, it is clear that if you are binge eating, you might want to get yourself professionally screened for depression.

Binge eating has long been linked to self-esteem issues, especially among adolescent and college-going women. Binge eating appears to take place in a vicious cycle that can be difficult to break.

Binge eating creates a surge in blood sugar levels that causes insulin levels to rise above normal. The high insulin levels absorb sugar faster and the blood glucose level drops quickly, sending a false distress signal to the brain that the body needs food to elevate the falling glucose levels. This causes the body to crave sugary foods in order to get a quick fix, and overeating causes the blood sugar level to spike, starting the process all over again.

Usually, indulging in sessions of binge eating isaccompanied by feelings of guilt, disgust, and low self-worth.

Diabetes, obesity, and even stress-related disorders like hypertension are risk factors for binge eating. While obesity is obviously linked to binge eating, it may lead to the development of Type II Diabetes as well.

Binge eaters often believe that they have absolutely no control over the amount of food they consume and may be seeking solace in food and sugar. Food stimulates specific pleasure-centers in the brain, and for individuals who are depressed or are struggling with mood swings, questions of self-worth, etc., binge-eating may temporarily alleviate their trouble. The problem is that this is obviously not a permanent solution and the guilt and self-disgust that follows bouts of over indulgence only serves to exacerbate the problem.

Research has shown females to be at greater risk than males, and advice screening and follow-ups if a young woman has ever reported feeling low for considerable periods of time.

Earlier, obesity was all about eating right and exercise, but it is clear now that individual cases vary and some benefit from a more psychologically motivated approach.

If you suspect that you are dealing with either issue, seek professional help. The answer to your problems may lie in your own mind, as opposed to on your plate.

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