Impulsivity LInked to Binge Eating

Impulsive people might be at higher risk of binge eating, a researcher says.

According to Kelly Klump, professor of psychology at Michigan State University and senior author, the more impulsive you are, the more likely it is you’ll binge eat when experiencing negative feelings.

“It’s human nature to want to turn to something for comfort after a bad day, but what our research found is that the tendency to act rashly when faced with negative emotions is a personality trait that can lead to binge eating,” Klump said.

According to a news release from  MSU, Klump and her team interviewed 612 female twins, of which 14 percent had binge eating, overeating (consumption of a large amount of food without a loss of control) or loss of control over eating (difficulty controlling one’s consumption of even a small amount of food). They determined that people with these eating problems generally had higher levels of “negative urgency,” or a tendency to act impulsively when experiencing negative emotions, than those who did not have pathological eating.

This research has important implications for treatment, Klump said. “If we can treat the underlying tendency to jump to eating when feeling negative emotions like stress, we may be able to help thousands of individuals who suffer from a range of eating disorders.”

The study was published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders.

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