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Binge Eating Triggers – What Prompts Impulsive Overeating?

In binge eating by Alex O'Toole

Binge eating triggers have been the subject of extensive research for a number of years. Exactly what triggers binge eating, or impulsive overeating can vary by individual, which makes it a very personal factor. However, there have been some consistent traits and triggers that have been identified. In this article, we discuss exactly what these are.

What Triggers Binge Eating?

What triggers binge eating behaviour versus a specific binging episode is slightly different. People are more likely to binge eat if they are depressed, have a history of eating disorders in their family, have been sexually abused, or suffer from low self-esteem, anxiety, or obsessive personality traits. Almost 40% of people with an eating disorder also have an addiction to something else, such as alcohol or drugs. One study looked at the link between people who are vulnerable to addiction and binge eating. It suggested that ‘underlying processes identified in addiction are present in individuals who binge eat’ which indicates that there may be a link.

Common Binge Eating Triggers

Binge eating triggers can be internal or external, emotional or environmental. Here are just some of the many things that can trigger a binge eating episode;

  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Boredom
  • Getting ravenous
  • Feeling disappointed
  • Feeling down or depressed
  • Feeling overweight or unhappy with your figure

How to Identify Your Binge Eating Triggers

Identifying your binge eating triggers requires careful reflection and sometimes the help of a qualified professional. There are proven techniques that can be used to isolate the thoughts or feelings that trigger binging behaviour. In fact, we teach a form of cognitive behavioural therapy as part of our Beat the Binge online program that helps you do just this. It includes an entire module dedicated to understanding your impulsive behaviours so you can learn how to control them. Learn more here.