April is Emotional Overeating Awareness Month
In many people, stress can have negative health consequences. Living with unmanaged stress can cause feelings of depression and anxiety, cause poor sleeping habits, and cause poor eating habits, as well. For caregivers, however, living with stress too often becomes the norm. Caregivers often find that they don’t get a lot of down time to rest, relax, or recharge since they are always trying to balance multiple responsibilities. For this reason, many caregivers may be at risk for stress-related health conditions such as emotional overeating. Emotional overeating is a common, but rarely talked about type of eating disorder that can be caused by exhaustion, high levels of stress, and depression. April is observed as Emotional Overeating Awareness month to help get the word out about this serious condition and to help sufferers understand that there is hope. Read on to learn more about emotional overeating and what caregivers can do if they suspect they may be affected by it.
What is emotional overeating?
Emotional overeating occurs when a person uses food to help them cope with difficult or negative emotions. Almost everyone has times when they eat too much or make poor food choices because they feel sad, stressed, lonely, etc. However, when this action becomes a habit and this habit begins to feel like it is out of control, it could be emotional overeating.
What are the complications of emotional overeating?
Emotional overeating often leads to being overweight or obese and these conditions can have serious complications. Weight gain from emotional overeating can lead to type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, sleep apnea, and depression among other medical conditions.
Can emotional overeating be treated?
Yes! For caregivers who suspect that they may be overeating due to the emotions they are experiencing, there is hope and there are certainly ways to get back to healthier eating habits. One of the most important ways to begin treating emotional overeating is to discover what your triggers and stressors are and to discover healthy ways to respond to those triggers and stressors. Some may find therapy, support groups, and nutrition counseling helpful for identifying the underlying cause of their emotional eating. In addition to these treatments, those suffering from emotional overeating may find it helpful to have other ways to deal with stress such as exercising, spending time with friends, and/or doing creative activities.