Many a times, we have heard or seen people around us craving for ice cream or chocolate whenever they are stressed out or emotionally drained. Very often, we must have come across people who indulge in food for one reason or another instead of actually feeling hungry. Some people make food their pretext to let out their feelings of stress, depression, anxiety, anger or any kind of euphoria rather than actually eating when hungry. To find solace at their state of emotionally low or feeling of drained out, food craving become a comforting tool instead of actually finding solution to their real problem. Not only negative stimuli, positive stimuli or feeling of emotional high can also make some people to binge or overeat. Be it negative or positive feeling, this tendency to binge almost becomes the nature of the person until when he realises of the problems which arises out of this habit. In course of time, the person started facing problems of health issues due to extra calories consumed like obesity, hypercholesteremia, diabetes, digestive problems or other ailments. This has become quite a common problem among masses in both genders. Therefore, emotional eating is eating in response to emotion rather than actually feeling hungry. Psychiatrists regard this as a psychological disorder as it is not related to the physical hunger.
Unlike physical hunger, most of the time, in case of emotional eating, urge for food is sudden and often associated with feeling of guilt after words as it leads to binge eating. Food gives the instant comfort or solace from the emotional turmoil that the person has been going through. This almost becomes the habit of the person. It is triggered each time he goes through an episode of emotional crisis. The realisation comes very late when the person start facing health problems. The trigger point can be different for different individual. Many times, it has been seen in case of women, coping up a situation of stress and tension with certain eating habits like with a can of ice cream or a glass of chocolate shake or a candy bar give them the instant comfort from the situation. Each time they feel the anger or stress, they indulge to the similar food which give them the instant high. It goes on and on and the cycle continues. Not only in case of adults, such eating habit is also seen in case of children. This type of binging has no relation with the actual physical hunger which is required for physical growth and nourishment. Emotional eating can reach to such a level that he can consciously or unconsciously start eating or binging where his mind completely lose control over him. The food becomes the numbing tool that makes him fade away from the reality. Once, this type of binging becomes a habit, it becomes extremely difficult to break the habit. Therefore, emotional eating is a disorder which is very difficult to rule out as it almost becomes a part of our life. But sooner is the realisation, better is the outcome of correcting it and subsequently relieved from the health hazards which might follow. Psychiatrists named such eating disorder as compulsive eating or binge eating or emotional eating disorder. Medically, such eating can lead to a series of ailments like obesity, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, poor digestion and malnutrition. Like all medical treatment, this problem too has a line of therapy. Doctors use drugs to alter the neurotransmitters in brain to cure the disorder. Other techniques to cope up with the stress like relaxation techniques, meditation and counselling can help to some extent but may not be enough. Though relieved for sometime but the person may soon get into the habit even without realising it. Therefore, it is important to get into the root cause to cure it permanently.
As a birthright, we, as human are born to live with emotions and feelings which make us different from animals. It is quite natural to develop an emotional chord between our feelings and food as food too is an integral part our lives. So, there should not be any feeling of guilt or embarrassment for those people who have been going through this problem. The struggle to this problem should begin with knowing our emotions and our willpower. By acknowledging our emotional side and relying on a trusted friend or a professional, we can let out our emotional entanglement of deep down mental thoughts or judgement which has been the cause of emotional turmoil. Once these feelings are released, we get that 'much needed' relief and food no longer is required as the tool to overpower us. If our mind is free, the solution to our problem or issue is likely to be followed soon. Though this may sound easier, but it would require sometime before we can completely take control of our mind. The process is slow self healing and knowing our inner world is not easy. Once we are able to overcome our emotional gap, the harmony of body and mind can come to a complete balance. We will become more stable and balance our emotions and therefore, our quality of life would improve.
Today, life is too hectic and we look out for instant solution but for this kind of problem we need to be patient and begin slowly. In case of alcohol or drug addiction, complete abstinence is the line of therapy. But in case of emotional eating, this is not possible as food is the basic necessity of our life. Hence, a conscious effort to strive a balance between mind, body and soul is the only solution. Emotional eating is a disorder, but it is also a blessing in disguise where in the process of healing ourselves, we can get into our inner world and learn to struggle with our deepest thoughts and hope to win over them.
About Author / Additional Info:
A Medical Professional, likes to write on health related issues.