Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Compulsive Overeating Disorder

Compulsive overeating or binge eating is a common eating disorder in which people eat and eat, even after they are completely full. Compulsive overeaters often feel “out of control” with food, so much that they literally cannot stop eating. This problem is different from bulimia nervosa (where people binge, but then try “purge” food out of their bodies by vomiting or some other means). Compulsive overeaters don’t “purge”.

Why does this happen?

The reasons for this disorder aren’t completely well understood. Some people seem to rely on food as a way of coping with stress or emotional problems. Overeating may give them a sense of comfort. Most compulsive overeaters think a lot about food and their weight, which often leads to a cycle of dieting and bingeing. While on the diet, they feel hungry and deprived, which helps lead to the next binge. Some people see compulsive overeating as an addiction, similar to an addiction to drugs. Whatever the reasons, bingeing, isn’t good for the body.

What are the symptoms of compulsive overeating?

The symptoms include:

Bingeing frequently and repeatedly
Feeling like you cannot stop eating
Eating in secrecy
A history of “failed” diets
Feelings of shame about bingeing
May be overweight and depressed
What are the results of compulsive over eating?

The most obvious result is weight gain. When people binge, they usually don’t binge on healthy food, but on high calorie “junk” food, therefore causing them to gain weight. Overeating can also result in more serious health problems if you are already overweight, such as an increased risk of heart attacks.

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