Health & Support
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Why does people eat alot (binge) when they are depressed?


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Maybe its a dumb question.. but why does people eat alot (binge) when they are depressed?


When Im depressed the last thing I want to do is eat. I just want to sit somewhere and cry out my feelings. Last time I was depressed about a realitionship I couldnt eat for 1 week and lost 8 lbs. Yea it was bad.

Edited Nov 01 2008 06:03 by nycgirl
Reason: Moved from Weight Loss to Health & Support forum
16 Replies (last)

I've heard it has to do with dopamine response.  Food, particularly sugars (candy, pastas, etc.) release chemicals in your brain that make you feel good.   Some people are more sensitive to those chemicals than others.  If you're particularly sensitive to the chemicals, you get a little "food high" from eating.  So your question is a bit like asking why people do drugs or why they drink alcohol when they're depressed about something.

What emmersct said: it's self-medicating with food. It's one of my personal favorites unfortunately. It's like getting a great big hug from the inside out when you gorge yourself with pizza is the only way I can describe it

food is a quick fix.

I also have the "don't want to eat when depression" problem.  When I get a little stressed out or a little upset I might respond by eating more, but when I am seriously worked up, I have a lot of trouble eating.  I went through that in August; it's not fun.  I'm better now, but I still don't have the appetite that I used to have.

It momentarily numbs the pain. You get distracted by the taste and don't have to think. You just eat, trying to fill the emptiness.

Yep I agree with all the posts.

Guilty of being an emotional eater here- last night I had a 2litre tub of ice cream and fruit cake because I felt depressed. Ugh my life is so crap at the moment and I'm so stressed out. So i just eat like a zombie, cramming it in and then feeling horrible after. i wish i could do something else when i'm sad but nothing quite distracts my mind like a big binge.

sorry for the rant but i need to vent. i wish my life was a bit easier right now but i'm just drowning under pressure and resposibilities. i don't want to crack again tonight but i can see myself going to the shop and buying loads of junk food and repeating last night again. please someone talk me out of it.

#7  
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There's no point to going out and buying junk food to "ease" your pain. I find myself doing the same thing at times. It's not going to make anything better and you find yourself spending money you don't have on food. Try and find another way to relax. I myself enjoy turning off the lights, lighting some candles and thinking about some of the good things I have going on in my life. It works

Both overeating and undereating, in essence, are emotional eating if just in varying ways. Both are symptoms of depression, and yes, you could experience both. I have times where I've been painfully unhappy and I lose my appetite. Others, I am ravenous. But whether you lose your appetite or you gain one when you are sad, you'll want to aim for the same thing: normal eating.

Busy yourself and your mind, your hands. Do some gardening. Cleaning. Knitting. Go for an easy walk or a slow bike ride. If the sun is out go and enjoy it and if it isn't just get some fresh air. Sing, dance. Call a friend. Write out why you feel blue - blog it if you fancy. Try taking up a new hobby.

If you're not eating when you're unhappy make meal plans that meet your calorie target and be rigid with yourself in sticking to them, and try cooking something really aromatic and delicious for yourself and some friends. Smells often trigger our palete. If too much, make meal plans that meet your calorie target and be rigid with yourself in sticking to them, and aim to avoid the kitchen and temptation otherwise if you can't trust yourself.

Either way, whether under or overeating when sad, neither will help you feel better. Pinpointing the cause of your sadness is generally a wiser idea, or at least taking on non-food related activities.

because they lack coping skills.

#10  
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Original Post by pgeorgian:

because they lack coping skills.

I can appreciate sarcasm as much as the next person, but under a sub-forum titled 'health and support', wasn't that comment just a tad bit insensitive?

I wish i'd come back on this topic and read all this last night as i did go out and binge again. i'm so annoyed at myself, i cant afford to keep doing this! i usually have good willpower and can resist the urge to binge but it's got so cold now and i'm experiencing a lot of stressful things in my life, so i feel that food is the only thing i have complete control over.

anyway, i am going to be strong now and take on board the suggestions people have made to prevent another pointless binge tonight. x

Original Post by katya185:

Original Post by pgeorgian:

because they lack coping skills.

I can appreciate sarcasm as much as the next person, but under a sub-forum titled 'health and support', wasn't that comment just a tad bit insensitive?

i wasn't being sarcastic.  i was being honest.  we all have stress, bad days, difficult relationships, etc.  if we haven't learned appropriate coping skills, we're likely to act in ways that may be harmful.

If you are saying that someone who eats when they are depressed has coping skills you are sadly mistaken. I know for a fact that I do not have a problem with coping skills, I am highly emotional, But I do not have a problem coping with things. Just because you are emotional does not mean you are some thing and not a human being. Mk?

Original Post by katya185:

Original Post by pgeorgian:

because they lack coping skills.

I can appreciate sarcasm as much as the next person, but under a sub-forum titled 'health and support', wasn't that comment just a tad bit insensitive?

 i agree with pgeorgian on this one.

Original Post by eerica:

Original Post by katya185:

Original Post by pgeorgian:

because they lack coping skills.

I can appreciate sarcasm as much as the next person, but under a sub-forum titled 'health and support', wasn't that comment just a tad bit insensitive?

 i agree with pgeorgian on this one.

i agree with pgeorgian too.. to an extent.. not ALL people binge because they lack coping skills but it can be one of the reasons. if you don't have the ability to cope in stressful situations (or don't FEEL that you can cope) turning to food can feel like a huge comfort/distraction at the time. if you feel you can't cope, it makes you 10x more stressed about the situation and it all gets blown out of proportion..

emmasmith - next time you want to binge just try and remember that it won't solve any of your problems and will eventually just make you feel worse, and give you ANOTHER thing to worry about. ask yourself how you will feel AFTER you've eaten all the food. it's sooo hard but each time you stop a binge is a victory. good luck x

Hello.

I saw your message, and I know that you posted it awhile ago (like 5 years)

However, I was wondering if your issue had gotten any better...

I have been doing things similar to what you said. I kinda went through a bad break-up, or a huge fight, and lost myself completely. I gained a bunch of weight (try 40lbs) and kind of did this stupid thing where I spent a lot of money stuffing my body with really cheap food. I don't want to do that anymore... so I was wondering...

Have you gotten better? Like, does your love for yourself transcend such vulgar trespasses on your human body?

I sure hope so.

Thanks,

- D

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