Binge Eating Disorder And Depression: Do They Go Hand-In-Hand?

By Kristin Gerstley

It’s hard to imagine that there are people out there who won’t eat an entire row of cookies, or hear food calling to them in the middle of the night; people who never have to throw their food out to avoid eating it, or pick it out of the garbage in desperation. Binge eating is of course only a cover-up for a much bigger issue, the emptiness one feels inside.

If one feels empty, the feeling of depression occurs and so does binge eating. Compulsive eating is eating large amounts of food in a short span of time while Depression on the other hand is a serious condition that can affect all aspect of one’s life. Binging puts the victim in a spot where he/she cannot control eating, which will later on gives the feeling of guilt for over eating. Psychological and emotional factors, such as the feeling of depression occurs, this proves the link of emotional eating and depression.

According to researches, there is a straight correlation between compulsive eating and depression. Some argue that depression caused binge eating, as most victims gets worst in binging when they are depressed, stressed out or if they keep any negative feelings inside. Some says the opposite and blames “over eating” or binging for being depressed. However, there is no clear explanation as to whether binge eating leads to depression or depression stimulates binge eating.

In the United States alone, Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is affecting 3.5 percent of females and 2 percent of males and 30 percent of those seeking to lose weight. In a recent study, researchers investigated the link between binge eating and depression in the early age of adolescence. A soaring 1.7 percent rate found prevalent for eating disorders in teens.

Studies showed a great risk for binging for young girls when they feel “depressed” or “down in the dumps”. Most common reasons are teasing coming from the opposite sex or family members. As for boys, they become less resilient to constant comments about weight from peers and family members.

A study also proved that young girls have higher risk of having emotional eating and depression than boys. Is it because teen girls face more challenges than boys do? Girls faced in dealing with more than one stressor simultaneously as compared to boys. Some common stressors include:

Body image: Girls are more concerned about physical appearance than boys do during adolescence.

Transition: Both face changes during puberty but girls find it more difficult to transition than boys do. Example of which is transitioning to middle school or junior high.

Worthlessness: Girls feels less important or less to succeed in life than boys do. Discrimination based on gender and sexual preference in terms of opportunities in life. Their self-esteem is greatly affected, which leads them to feel depress and over eat.

Sexuality: Girls are stuck with the traditional double standard, by which females were judge harshly than males. Teenage girls would shy away from expressing their sexual desires and preferences for the fear of rejection and judgment. Girls are more prone to judge themselves negatively than boys do. Teenage boys on the other hand are more vocal in expressing their actions and ideas. When faced with rejection, they become depressed but they can easily brush off negativity off their shoulders and move on.

Binge eating and depression goes hand and hand.

Depressive symptoms and negative emotions are to consider in preventing binge eating. Binge eaters are mostly secretive and in denial. Parents, friends and even doctors should be aware in checking these signs of disordered eating and vice versa.

Kristin Gerstley is a former binge eater that now has a very healthy relationship with food. Since 2005, Kristin has helped thousands of people end binge eating through her website: http://www.endbingeeatingnow.com. You can also get free tips, information, and access Kristin’s End Binge Eating Journal by joining her free newsletter.

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