Binge Eating affects millions of Americans

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Addictions are often challenging to overcome, but what if that addiction was something you couldn't live without.

It's the new year and many people often make the same resolution, to lose weight. People say okay "I'm going to be really good, I'm going to stick to my diet," but year after year they fail. But, what if the problem was actually an eating disorder.

"Sometimes even if they wanted to stop, they just can't get themselves to do it. It truly is out-of-control eating," says Dr.Cristina Shaw, who works at the St. Bernard's Counseling Center, and specializes in eating disorders.

"Our society is very judgmental of people who are overweight or obese. A lot of people don't understand, for some individuals it's truly an emotionally related problem," says Shaw. It's a problem she calls a Binge Eating disorder, affecting around 25 million Americans.

"These individuals tend to eat when they're depressed. They tend to eat when they're happy. They tend to eat when they're anxious, any type of emotional extremes," says Shaw.

She says now-a-days with more fast food restaurants and higher calorie foods available..."If you've got emotional related eating problems, it's easier now than ever to get your hands on those foods when you're having a difficult time," says Shaw.

Common symptoms of binge eating disorder include:

-eating beyond the point of fullness.

-eating in secret.

-embarrassed or shameful about eating around others.

-and typically have difficulty stopping.

And Shaw says because it's more emotionally related...diets often don't often work. "These individuals often have a lot of yo-yo-ing with their weight till the point where their weight becomes a medical problem," says Shaw.

With other additions like smoking or alcoholism, individuals can just stop using the substance all together. But when it comes binge eating, food is something you can't live without.

"The focus with these individuals is learning to actually understand the emotions around they're eating and their triggers. They need to actually learn to taste their food, and have a healthy relationship with food," says Shaw.

For more information on symptoms and treatment for binge eating disorder just go to

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