"Swallowed" feelings as triggers of binge eating?

Connection of eating disorders and lack of expression of one's own feelings

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People with eating disorders often suffer from an overvaluation of food, figure and body as well as other over-hyped per- formance and often have a negative self-image. But also the perception and the handling of emotions could be a cause for eating disorders. A new study will now examine this previously suspected relationship in more detail.

"There is evidence that women with eating disorders have difficulty adequately expressing their own feelings, " explains Drs. Tanja Legenbauer from the Psychological Institute of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. A new study will examine these relationships in more detail. Participants are still being sought for the study "Feeling Perception in Women with Eating Bites".

Emotional discomfort often

Eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa, also called dyspepsia, and anorexia nervosa, the so-called anorexia, have increasingly come under the spotlight of scientific research in recent years. Typical features of people with eating disorders are the strong control of body weight, for example by strict diets and extreme sports and the repeated occurrence of bingeing. Binge eating is not only a major feature of Bulimia Nervosa, but also the so-called "binge eating disorder" - both are characterized by eating large amounts of food and experiencing a loss of control.

Women who suffer from frequent binges also often show emotional distress or "interpersonal difficulties". According to previous findings, this does not seem to indicate that women with eating disorders could not recognize other people's feelings, but rather difficulties or deficits in adequately expressing their own feelings. So far, there are some indications that reinforce this assumption: For example, women with anorexia, eating-crushing addiction, and particularly women with binge eating disorder, show increased levels of alexithymia - a measure of the inability to adequately perceive and describe one's own feelings.

Connection between binge eating and feelings?

The planned study at the Psychological Institute now wants to investigate these difficulties more closely and find out whether there are connections between the general difficulty of being able to perceive feelings and binge eating. In addition, it will be investigated to what extent mental mechanisms have an influence on the triggering of binge eating and which connections exist between thoughts and feelings. display

"We hope to get clues to further improve the therapy of eating disorders, " explains Legenbauer. For several years she has been investigating the links between the development of eating disorders and ways of overcoming them in the Department of Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy.

(University of Mainz, 02.08.2006 - NPO)