Balancing Type 2 Diabetes and Compulsive Eating
By Robin Fein Wright, L.C.S.W.
To people with type 2 diabetes who also struggle with compulsive eating– please know you are not alone. According to the Walden Eating Disorders Treatment Program, “Studies estimate that 12% of patients with Type 2 Diabetes also suffer from BED (Binge Eating Disorder).” Given that 9.3% of the population has diabetes, this is a dual diagnosis that affects millions of people in the U.S.
What is Compulsive Eating?
Compulsive eating is considered an emotionally triggered behavior, usually a response to an uncomfortable feeling, not to physical hunger. Here are definitions of emotional eating from WebMD:
-Something stressful happens to you and you immediately want to eat
-An overwhelmingly urge to eat comes over you (physical hunger usually builds more slowly)
-You strongly desire one particular food like chocolate or ice cream rather than a variety of foods
This kind of eating makes many people feel like they have no control over what they eat. There is guilt and shame over the quantities of food consumed. Many compulsive eaters prefer to eat alone because it’s more of a solitary act than a social one. People who eat compulsively often don’t pay close attention to the act of eating and can eat almost automatically because it is emotionally driven. It is hard to read hunger signals to know when to stop eating because the behavior is not driven by physical hunger.
Another factor in developing compulsive eating is body dissatisfaction. Compulsive eating is part of a behavioral cycle that begins with an effort to be restrictive in order to l Continue reading