The Scientist: Jenny Taitz, Psy.D., is a clinical psychologist at the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy and author of "End Emotional Eating."
The Answer: Some people turn to drugs, alcohol or sex to escape from unpleasant or overwhelming emotions. Many turn to food, which can have similar effects in the brain.
Studies indicate that emotional eaters' brains may be particularly sensitive to the rewards of food, compared to people who don't engage in bad-mood binges, many of whom don't want to touch food during distressing times. Brain scans of emotional eaters show that regions associated with reward and anticipation of reward light up more when they're in a negative mood. Non-emotional eaters, on the other hand, show decreased activation in these areas under the same circumstances.
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Conditioning also plays a role. Eating when we're blue becomes a habit like any other; a region of the brain calledRead More »from Why You Eat when You're Upset