Binge eating linked to suicide risk
Young women who experience body dissatisfaction due to binge eating disorder (BED) are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression, new research reports.
Not only that, but this population also has an increased risk for suicide, the Bloomberg School of Public Health study found.
Internalization of emotions
Young women with mood disorders and body image problems have a harder time managing emotions, said Dr. Rashelle Musci and colleagues. This often results in the outward expression of these internalized symptoms, which manifests in suicide.
For the study, Musci and her colleagues examined how depression and anxiety can predict BED and suicidal behavior in 313 young black females. The girls were studied for 11 years, during which they were interviewed to determine levels of body satisfaction, eating behaviors and the presence of anxiety and depression.
Dissatisfaction with physical appearance was linked to depressive and anxious symptoms in adolescence, and these symptoms, in turn, predicted eating disorders. Girls with BED were more likely to report suicide attempts, the study found.
Researchers said the study highlights a need for culturally sensitive intervention programs that can help reduce risk for suicide in young black women as well as other populations.
“The relationships found in this study offer prevention scientists a unique opportunity to target individuals at high risk of psychiatric problems by intervening in the case of binge eating problems," the authors wrote.
The study is published in the journal Prevention Science.