Symptoms, Causes and Treatments for Compulsive Overeating

Have you heard the term “compulsive overeating”? Psychology Today defines this eating disorder similarly with binge eating syndrome. People who have this issue are consuming a lot of calories in a single or sequential episodes of eating feast, leading to severe weight gain. It can also be characterized as food addiction where an individual has an obsessive or compulsive attitude towards food.

Suffering from this condition is often difficult to treat because the sufferer will always try to deny having this kind of eating disorder. During an eating session, the sufferer may experience an out of control food consumption, often overcomes the feeling of fullness. Unlike bulimia nervosa sufferers, compulsive overeating individuals are pure food consumers which doesn’t rely on purging behaviors thru laxative or vomiting.

Compulsive overeating can affect anyone even if you are in average weight. Sufferers prefer isolation with regards to eating and they eat even if they are not hungry. This condition often leads to obesity but not all obese individuals are compulsive eaters. If this all sounds like you, then you need to learn more about this disorder. Below are additional details about compulsive overeating.

Causes and Symptoms of Compulsive Overeating

compulsive overeatingSigns and symptoms of this disorder is too much obsession or devotion to food. Spending excessive time eating can be classified compulsive behavior. Other common signs are fast eater, binge eating, depression or guilt after food binging, isolation or eating alone, history of weight fluctuations, withdrawal of many physical activities, low self-esteem and other characteristics of being obese.

Other signs of this disorder is regular consumption of over 5,000 calories per day, which is also called an addiction or abnormal food cravings that is not similarly high with drug abuse, but more of psychological stress. Researchers believes that abnormalities in endorphin metabolism inside the brain initiates this food addiction process. For compulsive overeating individuals, the consumption of triggering foods triggers the release of neurotransmitter called serotonin which is related to neurobiological factors that links to the addictive process.

Depression is another theory that constitutes to overeating. However, there is no definite study that solidifies either depression or binge eating comes first, or vice versa. The common fact remains that emotional factors do have an effect to an individuals mindset which can lead to impulsive gestures or abnormal behaviors. Dozens of reports suggests that anger, bored, stressed up, worried, frustrations and many other emotional issues leads people to binge eat.

Other theories on the cause of this disorder includes genetics and failed dieting endeavors. Dieting however are not properly concluded but is highly included as probably cause. This is due to reports that binge eating disorder sufferers had binge history before they started to diet.

Additional cause is relatively linked to the individual’s increased tendency to secrete insulin right at the sight and smell of food. Others are attributed to over sensitivity to taste and smell. However, medical community disagrees with these theories suggesting that it’s impossible and highly controversial.

Health Magazine published an article authored by Sarah Klein the following theory about compulsive overeating disorder: “Fatty foods may cause cocaine-like addiction. Taking drugs such as cocaine and eating too much junk food both gradually overload the so-called pleasure centers in the brain”. Dr. Paul Kenny, an associate professor of molecular therapeutics at the Scripps Research Institute, based in his rat study added the following: “Eventually the pleasure centers ‘crash’, and achieving the same pleasure—or even just feeling normal—requires increasing amounts of the drug or food”.

Based on these causes and symptoms, compulsive overeating is a serious disorder that should not be ignored and requires immediate medical attention. How to manage compulsive overeating?

Compulsive Overeating Treatments

If this condition is left untreated, it can lead to extreme obesity which results to serious diseases including death. Some conditions associated with this disorder are diabetes, heart diseases, high blood pressure, sleep issues, extreme depression, anxiety, kidney disease, arthritis, low self-esteem, immobility, stroke, cancer, cholesterol problems, liver diseases and many others.

To prevent these diseases from happening, you have several options to help yourself or people who have this disorder. The first option would be cognitive-behavioral therapy. It practically teaches people how to manage and monitor their eating habits. The aim is also to change bad eating behaviors into healthy way of dieting. This type of therapy also helps the sufferers on their mood swings and behaviors, giving them pointers on how to react to difficult situations when “addiction” strikes.

Interpersonal psychotherapy can also help compulsive overeating sufferers. It primarily helps individuals to emphasize the benefits of having a healthy relationship with friends and family, which should lead to positive changes in the way the individual socialize resulting in a stable behavior towards many things. Antidepressants can also be helpful to calm people with compulsive overeating disorders.

Other therapies that can help manage this disorder includes dialectical behavior therapy, drug therapy, individual, group or family therapy and thru other means medical management. Weight loss surgeries can also be helpful if the individual is suffering from severe obesity. If the condition is just starting, experts suggests a more hyper physical activities such as regular exercise together with cognitive-behavioral therapy can greatly cease this condition.

There is no ideal treatment that is ideal for anyone with compulsive overeating disorder, rather it varies from person to person. If you think you have this condition, you should consult your physician immediately to help you in managing this difficult eating disorder.

Compulsive Overeating Summary

It is important to note that compulsive overeating is a difficult condition to manage but treatable through effective therapy. Information from WikiPedia suggest that 80% of individuals suffering from this kind of eating disorder recovered completely thru professional help. A significant reduction on their symptoms have been recorded which is headed by Dr. Gregg Jantz of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources in Edmonds, WA.

Therapies can effectively help manage compulsive overeating. However, if you think that you are just starting to crave food more than usual but not yet in the standard of food addiction, then weight loss supplementation can greatly help to overcome your issues. Taking weight loss supplements are totally much inexpensive than treating a full-blown compulsive overeating disorder.

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Noah Mark

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