Scientists believe that many of the same genes are involved with both disorders. Simply put, people who have an alcohol problem are also likely to be genetically susceptible to various types of eating disorders, including binge eating disorder.
On the flipside, people with an eating disorder are also more likely to suffer alcoholism. Many of the studies on this topic only surveyed women, but recent studies, which include men, demonstrate the same link between alcoholism and binge eating disorder coupled with genetic makeup.
A Look at Alcoholism
Alcoholism is the obsessive and uncontrollable consumption of alcoholic beverages, which leads to dependency on the substance. It’s a chronic disease and poses severe physical and mental consequences for the user.
Experts view alcoholism as a compulsion or strong craving to drink, with the reduced ability to stop drinking once it has been started. It’s also categorized as a physical dependence on alcohol, and individuals who suffer from alcoholism continue to drink in an attempt to avoid the symptoms of withdrawal.
Alcoholism also causes the individual to continue to drink more alcohol as their body gains a tolerance to the chemical. It’s not uncommon for alcoholism to develop alongside various eating disorders.
There are several signs that an individual is suffering from alcoholism. He or she likely drinks in secret or alone and has episodes of blacking out or not remembering what happened after drinking.
A Look at Binge Eating
Binge eating is viewed as a disorder. It’s important to understand that it’s different from normal appetite increases. People who overeat occasionally during the holidays aren’t likely to be considered to have the binge eating disorder.
A person who binge eats tends to eat unusually large portions of food regularly. These individuals usually eat fast and don’t stop after they’re full. People with a binge eating problem are usually overweight or obese.
Most binge eaters feel bad about their appearance, but don’t have self-control; however, a binge eating disorder involves more than eating too much food. A lot of people who have this issue don’t actually want to be obese and feel misunderstood; a person who has a binge eating disorder feels like he or she does not have control over his or her eating habits, and that he or she is powerless to stop it.
How Alcoholism Is Like and Not Like Binge Eating
Currently, there are a few theories that attempt to explain the connection between alcoholism and the binge eating disorder. Brain chemistry, family dynamics, social theories, cultural influences and genetic components are all believed to contribute to these problems.
A lot of people who have a binge eating disorder also have alcoholism and vice versa. A lot of binge eaters use alcohol to suppress the painful emotions that stem from a binge eating disorder. At first, the act of drinking alcohol to suppress emotions caused by binge eating is self-protective, which means the individual drinks as coping mechanism.
However, it doesn’t take long for the drinking to morph into self-destructive behavior. Like binge eating, alcoholism will eventually become self-sustaining, which creates a vicious cycle. Studies show that alcoholism frequently co-occurs with binge eating.
A few different personality traits, including impulsiveness, are connected to both of these disorders. One of the biggest similarities between the two conditions is the fact that they both become stronger while the degrading health of the individual does nothing to encourage him or her to stop.
One of the only ways that alcoholism differs from binge eating disorder is the fact that it’s a different substance. The health consequences of both addictions are also different, but they share a number of similarities. If you or someone close to you needs help, you need to get help quickly.