Dealing with an eating disorder is never easy, especially for men or women who have struggled with weight or self-esteem issues their entire life. Understanding more about compulsive overeating is a way to help others in need while also ensuring you are not depriving your body from necessary nutrients.
What is Compulsive Overeating Disorder?
Compulsive overeating or “binge eating disorder“, is a disorder that causes individuals to eat large quantities of food simultaneously only to vomit or rid the food in another way quickly afterwards – thus reducing the amount of calories taken in without feeling hungry or deprived. There are also binge eaters and overeaters who simply eat more than they can handle in one sitting, causing them to feel bloated, sick, and full for extended periods of time. Individuals who frequently overeat are often overweight and unhappy with themselves. However, they remain unable to stop themselves from gorging on food frequently without watching calorie intake whatsoever.
Compulsive overeating disorder varies with each individual. An individual evaluation of each patient is often required by a trained medical professional who is an expert or a specialist. Although binge eating disorders are more common among young women and teens, they are also found in men and adult women alike. Regardless of gender, race, and age, there are a few treatments known to help with overcoming the disorder depending on its severity as well as the individual’s willingness to get through this condition.
Compulsive Overeating Treatment
Getting the help you need to cope with compulsive overeating is possible by using both local and online resources, depending on where you live. Working with a doctor who specializes in diet and nutrition can also help with moving forward with any eating habits you want to change. Working together with a psychiatrist or therapist to discuss any triggers you have or reasons for overeating is also highly advisable.
Those who suffer from a compulsive overeating disorder often turn to food to avoid problems, conflict or undesirable activities. This requires medical advice and treatment in order to rid oneself from its dangers. Whether they are online or offline, treatment resources are available to help diagnose the disorder and provide you with the support you need to overcome it.
Compulsive Overeating Help and Resources
There are plenty of online resources for those who want to truly understand what binge eating is like. There are also online communities, such as “overeaters anonymous” that provide support from people who suffer similar conditions. Using the internet is a great way to find the support you need to overcome any type of food addiction you have, regardless of how long you have been struggling with your weight and eating habits altogether.
If you need additional outreach and support from those who are familiar with your situation, local community centers and city halls may also provide information about various group meetings as well as local counselors, therapists, and support groups.
The Signs and Symptoms of Overeating Disorders
- Eating large amounts of food at once, often more than a typical serving for each type of food.
- Snacking frequently between meals or consistently eating off of the same plate throughout the day, adding food at all times.
- Feeling unable to control the amount of food you are eating at one time and in one sitting.
- Feelings of sadness, grief, embarrassment, and guilt after overeating and eating too much in one sitting.
- Always finding yourself uncomfortable and full after eating any meal, whether it is breakfast, a snack, or a dessert.
- Frequent dieting is also known in those who overeat, which often leads to even more weight gain over time.
- A loss of sexual desire is common in individuals who overeat or are suffering with a binge eating disorder, as they often have low self-esteem and feel embarrassed or ashamed of their bodies.
- Feeling embarrassed due to one’s weight and inability to stop eating even when full and satisfied after a meal.
- Hiding food and keeping food stored in various locations at school, work, and even throughout your own home.
- Lying about food intake, spending at grocery stores, or the amount of junk food consumed in any period of time.
- Eating any time you feel upset, sad, angry, or emotional in any way to help with coping with the feelings you are enduring.
- Eating to avoid conflict or communication with others.
- Eating even when not hungry and without tasting the food to keep your mind off of other issues and matters that may be bothering you personally and internally.
Reasons for Overeating and Binge Eating
There are many reasons why individuals choose to overeat. Each case is different and unique in its own way. However, there are a few common causes of overeating that are frequently found in teenagers all the way through grown adults. A few common reasons include:
- Peer pressure from students, friends, and co-workers.
- Pressure from family members (mothers, fathers, siblings).
- Emotionally upset (using emotions to cope with sadness, loss, grief, and anger).
- Feeling left out or ostracized by peers, family members, and current set of friends.
- Low self-esteem and negative self body image.
- Media pressure/pressure from magazines.
- Depression and anxiety are also triggers of overeating and binge eating, especially if the individual feels out of control in their own life and unable to regain the control themselves.
- Addiction to sugar and carbohydrates (the brain becomes addicted to sugar and carbohydrates quickly, releasing dopamine when eating sugary foods and bread, although this is extremely unhealthy for body long-term).
- Underlying repressed memories or feelings that are difficult to talk about or bring up.
- Boredom and inability to discover hobbies or other interests to take up time.
- Social withdrawal due to depression, anxiety, or other factors in an individual’s life.
- Losing someone close/grief.
- Loss of a job, pet, or house.
- Increased financial strain.
- Relationship strain/lack of communication in a relation may trigger overeating and binge eating.
- Lying in a relationship.
- Not feeling satisfied in life/career path so far in one’s life.
- Losing friends or the ability to have time out and be social with others.
- Moving to a new location/adjusting to a new social life and coping with a new job or a new career on one’s own.
- Being fired from a job or put on the spot by peers, co-workers or even your own family and friends.
- Grieving when a spouse or a partner has cheated on you and been unfaithful.
- Dealing with a breakup or the loss of a long-term relationship with your girlfriend, boyfriend, partner, or spouse.
- Dealing with the death of a parent or another relative or guardian you consider to be extremely close with you.
- Handling a new promotion or job that is extremely stressful at times.
The list of potential triggers of developing an overeating disorder is long and may apply to someone you know as well as yourself. Understanding that the list above does not cover all potential causes of overeating is essential. Various triggers, stress, and life factors often contribute to different eating disorders in individuals regardless of age, gender, or location.
How to Stop Overeating
- The first step to stop overeating is to admit you have a problem. You should admit that you really are consuming more food than is necessary. This is an effective way for you to reflect on what you are eating each day, as well as the overall impact the food you choose has on your body.
- Use a journal to help with keeping track of the foods you eat as well as the total calories you are taking in.
- If traditional diets are not working for you, conduct a bit of research. There are many popular diets that are becoming even more widespread each day including: Ketogenic, Paleolithic, Vegan, and Vegetarian diets.
- Get educated about nutrition and various diets. Read magazines, online journals and nutritional books to help familiarize yourself with how food affects the human body upon consumption.
- Partner up with a friend and get a “diet buddy”. Work together towards better eating habits. Having support is a way to ensure you are capable of staying motivated while sticking to any goals you have set and in place.
- Join online communities and forums to become comfortable with discussing hardships and sharing progress pictures. Joining an online community is a way to gain support if you do not have others in your life you want to share your journey and progress with. It also allows you to connect with thousands of users from around the world with similar goals in mind.
Getting Medical and Professional Help
Another way to overcome your habit of overeating and indulging is to seek help from a medical professional, therapist, or counselor. There are many professionals who have experience with eating disorders and are capable of helping you.
It’s very easy to conduct a bit of research on local and online doctors and professionals near you. Through online search directories, you can definitely find someone suitable to take on your case while allowing you to feel comfortable with discussing your eating habits. In order to find the right therapist, check with local offices and services, or simply look online for reviews on local forums.
The more you know about compulsive overeating disorder, the easier it is to spot the signs and symptoms of those who may be struggling with it themselves. Whether you have a friend, co-worker, or even a relative in your life that you are concerned about, understanding the resources and options you have readily available to you is a way to ensure you are providing as much help and assistance as possible.