Part 3: Binge Eating
I’m glad you’re back for Part 3 of the series! This is a multi-part series about ADHD symptoms you probably weren’t aware of. In case you missed the Intro and Parts 1 & 2, you can go ahead and read those before getting started on this one if you’d like:
In part 2 we talked about Impulsivity. For Part 3 we’re talking about Binge Eating, which is a good follow-up because it’s easily tied in with Impulsivity. The more you look into it the more you’ll find that many ADHD Symptoms are interrelated.
We’re all aware of what is being called The Obesity Crisis in America. More than a third of the US population meet the criteria for Obesity. Because of this, doctors are scrambling to find out as much as they can in an attempt to understand and hopefully help the situation.
Something that’s being studied right now is Binge Eating Disorder (BED for short)
This quote from an article on the Duke Research Blog defines BED as:
a pattern of disordered eating characterized by consumption of a large number of calories in a relatively short period of time. In addition to these binges, patients report lack of control and feelings of self-disgust. Because of these patterns of excessive caloric intake, binge eating disorder and obesity go hand-in-hand, and treatment of the disorder could be instrumental in decreasing rates of obesity and improving overall health.
Binge Eating Disorder is commonly associated with other disorders such as substance abuse, anxiety disorders and of course, it’s associated with ADHD. Actually, about 30 percent of people with Binge Eating Disorder have been found to also have a history of ADHD.
There are many reasons for the connection.
Two come to mind right away:
Impulsivity is obviously involved. If we sat and considered the consequences of eating an entire pie of pizza in one sitting, we’d probably decide it was a bad idea. But because of Impulsivity, it’s easier for us to go ahead and stuff our face and worry about the consequences later.
It makes a lot of sense that Dopamine Deficiency would be involved as well. In case you missed it, I talked about this in a previous article when I was explaining how to use the Dessert before Dinner method to get stuff done despite your ADHD brain.
I’ll go ahead and briefly explain what Dopamine Deficiency is:
Dopamine is responsible for feelings of pleasure and reward in our brains. People with ADHD have been found to have lower levels of Dopamine. This makes us more prone to seeking out things that feel pleasurable and rewarding because these things help to raise the Dopamine levels in our brain.
We’re essentially attempting to self-medicate when we search for “hits of Dopamine” in things like Drugs, Relationships, and of course Food. Binge Eating, whether we consciously realize it or not, is a form of self-medication for the ADHD brain.
My Experience with Binge Eating
I don’t think that I could say I’ve had an actual Binge Eating Disorder. Maybe it could count as a mild case of it, but I don’t really know if it counts as the real thing.
When I first moved out of my parents house, the sudden freedom to buy and eat any food I desired was…not good. I spent the next several years stuffing my face with all the yummy unhealthy goodies my mom had never allowed in the house. The toxic relationship I was involved in at that time certainly didn’t help either, but that’s a story for another time. The consequences of my Binge Eating didn’t become obvious until a few years in, when the unhealthy foods and excessive portions were already firmly instilled as habits for me.
I eventually ended up gaining roughly 40 pounds, maybe more. I only recently lost most of that weight, thanks to discovering the Ketogenic Diet. Eating Ketogenic basically means I’m eating low amounts of carbs (most of my carbs come from veggies), high amounts of healthy fats, and moderate amounts of protein.
I’d love to write more in depth about Keto in the future because of how much it’s helped me physically, but especially because it’s helped me cognitively and emotionally. So if you’re interested in learning more about it, let me know in the comments! I can share some info with you and I’ll be more likely to write about it if I know there’s some interest.
Because of maintaining a Keto Lifestyle for about a year now, I’ve definitely conquered my tendency to Binge Eat. That’s one of the major benefits of this way of eating. Here and there I’ll eat more carbs than normal and that sometimes causes the Binge Eating to start back up again. But now instead of eating an entire box of macaroni to myself, I’ll maybe eat a bag of peanuts to myself rather than just a couple handfuls.
Binge Eating can be an issue for many people with ADHD and even if it’s not technically classified as Binge Eating Disorder, it can be crappy to deal with. If this is something you’ve found yourself struggling with, this article from Attitude Mag has some great advice: ADHD, Impulsive Eating, and Obesity
That’s it for Part 3. Be sure to sign up for the mailing list below so you can be notified when each part is published.
Until Next Time,
Keep Calm and Grow On
I’m assuming if you read this Article there’s a good chance that you’re an adult with ADHD?
If so, I’d love to invite you to join my new Facebook Support Group for Adult ADHDers just like you! It’s called ADHD All Growed Up (which is obviously a clever reference to both Rugrats and my Blog name)
If you want to learn more, check out the article I wrote about it:
Article I wrote about it
Or if you’d rather just jump right in you can head on over to the group and introduce yourself:
Join the ADHD All Growed Up FB Group
Join the Conversation!
- Have you been diagnosed with Binge Eating Disorder or struggled with Binge Eating at all?
- Would you be interested in reading an article about how eating Ketogenic has helped me?
Let me know in the Comments 🙂