Is Binge Eating Caused by Brain Chemistry?

Is Binge Eating Caused by Brain Chemistry?

Hilda  Dulin  LeeDr. Hilda Dulin Lee’s latest book, “In the Labyrinth of Binge Eating,” not only breaks down the neurochemical factors behind binge eating disorder (BED) and explores how highly restrictive dieting compounds the problem, but also offers compassion and understanding to the more than eight million Americans diagnosed with the disorder. Dr. Lee takes a scientific approach to dispelling the harmful misconceptions that surround this condition, an eating disorder more common than anorexia and bulimia combined. That approach includes a thorough review of all the latest insights into the causes of and treatments for binge eating disorder. “In the Labyrinth of Binge Eating” is available today on Amazon.

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Early changes in brain chemistry brought on by childhood trauma have been identified as one of the leading factors in the development of binge eating disorder. Early trauma can trigger a cycle in which the individual is constantly hypervigilant and stressed, hijacking the brain’s normal mechanisms for regulating the fight-or-flight response. These profound alterations in brain chemistry can predispose the person to binge eating, among other psychological conditions.

“Most people are surprised to learn that genetics can also play a role in the development of BED,” says Dr. Lee. “Some individuals have a gene mutation that wipes out certain of the brain’s neurochemical receptors controlling satiety – the sense of fullness. While most people do not have this mutated gene, its discovery has contributed greatly to our understanding of binge eating disorder, and is helping to find solutions.”

Yet another cause of binge eating, and certainly the most harmful accelerant of bingeing, is chronic, highly restrictive dieting. Low calorie diets not only leave people feeling deprived and hungry, but can mimic the effects of the mutated gene described previously, altering neurochemicals in the brain, thus interfering with innate signals of hunger and fullness. When restrictive dieting is coupled with negative emotions like low self-esteem – which is too often the case – people are even more likely to find themselves bingeing.

Dr. Lee brings personal experience to her study of binge eating. She was diagnosed with BED in 1998, after which she become so interested in researching the science behind this disorder that she sold her dental practice and returned to graduate school. Her mission with “In the Labyrinth of Binge Eating” is to eliminate the shame and blame so often associated with the condition, and to give hope and practical solutions to those battling BED.

One recovering binge eater said of Dr. Lee: “Hilda Lee has the mind of a scientist, the soul of an artist, and the voice of a gifted storyteller. She infuses the story of her own journey through binge eating with the latest research to produce a work of practical, useful art.”

In the Labyrinth of Binge Eating

About the Author

Hilda Dulin Lee, a dentist and writer, received her BA in literature and did post-graduate work in the sciences before attending dental school where she received her DMD degree. After years of practicing dentistry and teaching management seminars, she returned to graduate school where she studied binge eating and creative writing. She was selected as a national finalist in Sequestrum’s 2015 New Writer Award.

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