Causes of Binge Eating Disorder and Overeating
What causes binge eating disorder? Why is it so prevalent? In the United States, binge eating disorder statistics reveal the illness affects one out of every fifty people. As with many mental health conditions, researchers believe a combination of biological, psychological and environmental factors are behind the causes of overeating.
Biological Causes of Overeating
Scientists studying the causes of overeating in a compulsive manner theorize the part of the brain that controls appetite (the hypothalamus) may not be sending the correct messages about hunger and fullness. Another theory holds that low levels of serotonin play a part in binge and other eating disorders. Finally, binge eating disorder tends to run in families; suggesting that genetics is one of the causes of overeating.
Other overeating causes include:1
- Being female - women are slightly more likely than men to get binge eating disorder
- Being in late adolescence or early 20's - these are the times when binge eating disorder typically starts
- Having a history of dieting (dangers of dieting)
Psychological Causes of Binge Eating Disorder
It seems clear that psychological issues are one of the main causes of binge eating disorder. Nearly half of all people who compulsively overeat have a history of depression. Binge eaters report that strong negative emotions like anger, anxiety, sadness and boredom, are driving forces behind why they constantly overeat.
Other known psychological factors and causes of binge eating include:
- Low self-esteem
- Trouble controlling impulsive behaviors
- Trouble managing moods or expressing anger
- Dissatisfaction with body or appearance
- Dealing with a trauma such as sexual abuse
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