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Is Stress Eating a Disorder?

Is Stress Eating a Disorder?

Is stress eating a disorder? Undoubtedly, stress eating is a reality for many people, and certain circumstances induce a specific hormone called cortisol which spikes when stress levels rise. Statistically, people tend to overeat when this steroid hormone responds to stress. Usually, stress causes a fight-or-flight response and if the stress continues to heighten, then that may lead to a different scenario.

Eating sugary and fatty foods produces a high level of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that communicates with the brain's reward pathway that controls behavior. As a result, the brain feels immense temporary pleasure from eating certain foods, mainly processed foods. This experience encourages a cycle, hence, a stress eating disorder.

If you are wondering if stress is an eating disorder or you are experiencing hunger or a stress eating disorder, then ask yourself:

  • Are you thinking with your head or with your stomach?
  • Do you feel an intense hunger that makes you feel like you must eat quickly?
  • Are you craving specific foods?
  • Are you disregarding how much food you are consuming?
  • Do you feel guilty after eating?

Binge Eating Vs. Bulimia

Stress binge eating stems from a person feeling out of control, usually indulging in large portions of food in a short period. An individual may continue to eat until they have an awareness of how much was consumed, which leads to feeling guilty or shameful in one’s actions.

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder that is defined by excessive binge eating and purging. Self-induced vomiting is the difference between uncontrolled eating habits and bulimia. Long-term effects on the body occur when an individual continues to force oneself to throw up or misuse laxatives or other diuretics to reverse the high-calorie intake moments after the binge eating episode.

How to Stop Stress Eating

Binge eating doesn't only affect the waistline, but your mental health and self-confidence are also influenced. If you ask, "do I have a binge eating disorder," it may be time to check in with yourself. Ask yourself where your stress may be coming from, like feeling overwhelmed from work, family drama, or simply if you are bored or uncertain about what decision to make in a particular circumstance.

If you are wondering how to stop stress eating, then make sure you go through all the causes and effects happening in your life. Mediation, exercise, and social support are essential for healing from overeating in stressful moments. At the same time, you mustn't deprive yourself of calorie intake since healthy foods and balance matter! Removing temptations such as carbs or sugary foods is a great start, but keeping a journal and relying on friends and family can create a lifestyle change and impact.

No Need to Eat Your Feelings

If you or someone you love is fighting stress eating or constantly asking themselves, “is stress eating a disorder,” then realizing the signs of binge eating disorder is the first step. If you are wondering how to stop stress eating, Banyan Philadelphia Drug Treatment Center is here to offer unique therapeutic methods and successful programs established by specialists to ensure a successful recovery.

Our Philadelphia outpatient program offers numerous methods of care regarding eating disorders. We usually start our patients off with medical detox to safely get through withdrawal symptoms. Please understand that we are here to help, and not judge, but offer our recovery programs in Philadelphia to impact positively on the lifestyles of our patients.


Contact Banyan Philadelphia today at 888-280-4763 to learn more about our services.



Related Reading:

Avoid Restrictive Food Intake Disorder Symptoms

How To Recover From Binge Eating Disorder

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.