Emotional Eating Disorder

Emotional eating refers to the tendency to eat in response to emotions rather than physical hunger. It is a coping mechanism that some individuals use to deal with negative feelings, stress, or to seek comfort. During emotional eating, food becomes a way to distract, soothe, or numb emotions rather than addressing them directly.

Emotional Eating Disorder

People who engage in emotional eating often have a difficult time distinguishing between physical hunger and emotional hunger. Emotional hunger tends to be sudden, intense, and focused on specific types of comfort foods (e.g., sweets, high-fat foods). It is also typically accompanied by a strong desire to eat even when the body does not require additional nourishment.


Common triggers for emotional eating include stress, anxiety, boredom, loneliness, sadness, or even happiness. For some individuals, certain situations or environments may also trigger the urge to eat emotionally, such as being at home alone or watching TV.


Emotional eating can have negative effects on both physical and emotional well-being. It can lead to weight gain, feelings of guilt or shame, and a cycle of emotional eating as a response to negative emotions caused by overeating. It can also interfere with developing healthier coping strategies for managing emotions and can contribute to a strained relationship with food.


Managing emotional eating involves developing alternative coping mechanisms for dealing with emotions. This may include engaging in stress-reducing activities like exercise, practicing mindfulness or meditation, journaling, seeking support from friends or a therapist, and finding other ways to soothe oneself without turning to food.


It is important to note that emotional eating is a common behavior and not necessarily indicative of an eating disorder. However, if emotional eating becomes excessive, significantly impacts daily functioning, or leads to severe distress or health problems, it may be beneficial to seek professional help from a therapist or counselor who specializes in eating disorders or emotional eating.

Talk to Us About Eating Disorder Treatment

At Brighten Bay, we have the experience, expertise, and understanding to treat individuals with EDs and any other co-occurring conditions. Our research-backed program is focused on giving individuals ownership of their recovery as we equip them to thrive, both now and in the future. We also provide resources for families to heal and support their loved ones on the journey to healing. If you or a loved one are suffering from binge eating disorder, get in touch with us today to learn more about how to get started.