People who have emotional eating use food to deal with feelings rather than satisfy hunger. While emotional eating is usually tied to negative feelings, it can also be associated with positive feelings or events, such as a celebration.
Causes of Emotional Eating
According to the Mayo Clinic, most people use emotional eating to suppress or soothe negative emotions, such as stress, anger, fear, boredom, sadness and loneliness. The following situations may trigger emotional eating:
- Financial pressure
- Health problems
- Relationship conflicts
- Work stress
- Bad weather
One of the unfortunate effects of associating emotional triggers with eating is that this behavior becomes a pattern that is difficult to break.
Causes of Addiction
Many people use drugs to escape their emotional states or problems that are too traumatic to deal with. Whereas some people take antidepressants when they feel extremely sad, other people abuse drugs to calm down or forget their troubles.
Common Factors of Addiction and Emotional Eating
Emotional eating and addiction share the following factors:
- Everyone experiences a range of emotions that they handle in different ways. Some escape into a sugar-induced distraction with food, and some avoid reality through drug-induced states.
- When someone links an emotion with a behavior, a pattern of behavior often develops. This pattern can be almost automatic that requires little to no thought or desire.
With the commonalities between emotional eating and addiction, therapy may help people explore the connection between their emotions and behaviors.
Treatment for Emotional Eating and Addiction
Since there is a connection between one’s emotions and behaviors, cognitive behavioral therapy can treat emotional eating and addiction at the same time. In fact, according to the Mayo Clinic this technique teaches patients to recognize what connects their emotions and behaviors, such as emotional eating and using drugs. The Mayo Clinic also discusses the benefits of dialectical behavior therapy, which helps people break the patterns between emotional needs and destructive behaviors. Furthermore, it teaches patients the skills to tolerate stress and manage their emotions.
Help for Emotional Eating and Addiction
The sooner you get help for emotional eating and addiction, the greater the likelihood of recovery. However, we understand that many people stigmatize these problems, so it may be difficult to discuss your problems. To be assured of confidentiality and to get answers to your questions, call our toll-free helpline any time, as we are available 24 hours a day. We can help you find the right treatment programs for overeating and addiction. We are here to help.