Emotional eating or stress eating refers to the condition wherein the person experiences strong feeling of eating food without any feeling of hunger. They have craving for sugary and high calorie food items such as chocolates and ice creams. Since these food items are loaded with calories and saturated fat emotional eating is often associated with obesity.
The individuals facing stressful situation or suffering from mental disorder are more likely to develop the tendency of emotional eating. Stress responses of body include increase in craving for high sugar-calorie food in the individual who connect the eating with positive feeling or relaxation.
Negative emotions may often lead to a feeling of emptiness. Food is considered as the best way to fill that emptiness and develop a false feeling of “fullness” or temporary wholeness.
Emotional eating can pose risk for lifestyle diseases which is mostly associated with obesity. Some of the major complications of emotional eating are high blood pressure, cardiovascular disorder, higher cholesterol level, insomnia, irregular menstrual cycle in females etc.
Emotional eating does not have any specific symptoms, but a person may have an irregular eating pattern. Eating as a reward to compensate for the stressful event or day and/or to release the mental tension are some of the activities of patients. In most of the cases, the feeling of emotional is preceded by some impulsive behaviour or emotional upsurge.
Treatment of emotional eating starts with keeping a record of daily eating pattern. Try yoga and meditation to cope up with stressful conditions that leads to emotional eating. Regular exercises are also recommended to diffuse anxiety and depression and thereby, reducing the tendency of patient to head towards eating with no physical hunger.