Binge Eating May Signal Anxiety, Depression & Suicide Risk

By  Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on July 23, 2013

Binge Eating May Signal Anxiety, Depression & Suicide Risk A new study of African-American girls finds that body dissatisfaction can lead to symptoms of anxiety and depression, and an increased risk for suicide.
Dr. Rashelle Musci and colleagues from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University found that mood disorders and a dissatisfied body image placed the girls at higher risk for turning their emotions inward — displaying “internalizing” symptoms such as suicide.
Western culture places a significant focus on appearance, especially among girls and women. This cultural underpinning drives many to develop eating behavioral problems.
The most frequently occurring problem eating behaviors are binge eating, or eating large amounts of food in a short period of time and feeling out of control while eating.
This behavior leads to shame, embarrassment, distress and an attempt to conceal it.
For the study, found in the journal Prevention Science, Musci and colleagues investigated how depressive and anxious symptoms may be precursors to binge eating behaviors and suicidal outcomes in 313 black females.

Study participants were followed for 11 years, from the ages of approximately 6-17 years old. Teacher, parent, and child interviews were carried out, examining levels of anxiety, depression, satisfaction with physical appearance, and eating behaviors, particularly binge eating. Click here to read on.