Is Compulsive Overeating A Disease – Symptoms, Causes And Risk Factors
As you probably know, when we talk about overeating, we do not mean what can happen to each one of us, in the sense that when we do not arrive to eat in time, so we are starving, and then we come to the situation to eat much more than it was actually necessary.
In this case, we are talking about active overeating which belongs to serious disorders, and something that must be understood seriously. But is compulsive overeating a disease?
If you are suffering from such a disorder and want to lose weight, and you do not want to go on a diet or use some weight loss products, my suggestion is first to find out what this disorder implies, and hence how to deal with it, which initially can significantly help you.
What Is Compulsive Overeating?
Compulsive overeating, as we call it, is a serious eating disorder, when you have a need to consume huge amounts of food, with the feeling that you cannot stop eating.
As I have already said, almost everyone sometimes happens to overeat, especially when we are starving, or in situations where we simply cannot resist the feast, but for some people overeat turns into something that is regularly repeated, and over what they do not have control.
Those who have this kind of eating disorder often feel ashamed and are plotted to stop, but the need is always stronger than them, and they just keep eating, so when it comes to overeating, it’s only a matter of therapy that gradually leads to healing.
Overeating – Symptoms
It may happen that you are not obese, but that you are completely normal, and yet you have this disorder. What then? There are certain symptoms that are primarily manifested in the behavior and manifestation of certain emotions (which is why this disorder is often referred to as “emotional overeating“). E.g:
- Periodic consumption of abnormally large amounts of food, for example, every two hours
- Feel that you have no control over hunger
- You eat even when you are satiated or you are not hungry at all
- Fast food consumption during overeating
- Consuming food to the breaking point, when you are no longer able to taste anything
- Need to eat alone or hide from others
- A feeling of depression, disgust, embarrassment, guilt or anxiety because of food
- Often keeping diets without any results
Unlike those who have bulimia after you have “overeat”, you do not solve extra calories by vomiting, taking laxatives or excessive exercise, but you will try to hold the diet or eat normal meals, which again, paradoxically, can lead to an even greater need for overeating.
As far as food is concerned, one of the indicators of the severity of this disorder is determined by how many times a week you have such episodes.
When It’s A Sign That You Need To Visit A Doctor?
The medicine for overeating is primarily based on therapy, and if you find that you have any of the above symptoms, it is advisable to contact your doctor as soon as possible. Overeating problems can last very briefly and quickly stop, or start to come in and consequently last for years, especially if they are not treated.
The first thing you should do is talk to your doctor about the problem or feelings you are experiencing, but if you are not ready to trust a doctor, then you should talk to someone close to you.
This person can be a friend, partner, teacher, or priest if he so suits you, but the point is that that person makes you the right way, that is, motivates you to undergo treatment.
When it comes to compulsive overeating, self-help is also very important, in addition to medical intervention, because you will only get the necessary discipline to finish this till the end.
Also, people with this disorder can become experts in hiding this behavior, which makes it difficult for their family to determine that the problem exists at all. In this session, you should agree to an open conversation, and let them help you.
What Are Causes And Factors Of Risk Of Overeating?
The causes of disorders such as overeating are unknown, but genetics, biological factors, diet custody, and psychological problems can greatly increase the risk of the occurrence of this disorder.
It has also been shown that this eating disorder is much more prevalent for women than for men, and generally, people of all ages can be prone to overeating, but it is thought to usually begin in the late teens or early twenties.
Risk factors that may increase the risk of overeating:
- Family history of the disease. It’s much more likely to develop a dietary disorder (or any other) if your parents, brothers or sisters have the same. This indicates that it is possible that the genes that you inherit may be the cause of overeating.
- Diets. Numerous people who suffer from overeating disorder have a history of keeping a variety of diets. Dieting or abstaining from calories during the day can trigger an urge for overeating, especially if at the same time you show symptoms of depression.
- Psychic problems. Many people who have experienced the problem of overeating feel negative about themselves, their skills or achievements. Stress is a special trigger, a bad image of your body, as well as the availability of fast food that is almost always the main objective when it comes to overeating.
There are some complications of a psychological nature that may arise as a result of overeating disorder, and above all:
- Poor quality of life
- Problems with working at work, at home or in social situations
- Social isolation
- Medical conditions that are closely related to obesity, such as joint problems, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain sleep disorders
The disorders of the psychological nature that may be caused by this condition include:
- Bipolar disorder
- Abuse of substances
Whether There Is Prevention?
When it comes to emotional overeating, help first comes in the form of a therapy you undergo only after you have found that the disorder exists, because the way to prevent it from appearing does not exist.
If you think someone in your area suffers from this disorder, you should motivate that person to seek help, and in case, you have a child and you are told to suffer from overeating, here are some tips on how to set up yourself.
- Make sure you embed a picture of how healthy a human body should look, regardless of size or material.
- Discuss all possible risks with your child’s pediatrician, because they can easily “catch” some early nutritional disorders, and hence prevent them from further deepening.
Treatment Of Overeating Disorder
When it comes to eating disorders, overeating is a state that is not easy to find the cause, however, the therapy whose purpose the treatment of this disorder will probably include a psychological evaluation, including discussing your eating habits.
Also, you may be subjected to tests related to cholesterol, blood pressure, cardiovascular problems, diabetes or sleep disorders, which will likely include:
- Physical examination
- Blood and urine testing
- Consultations related to sleep disorder
What Does Treatment mean?
The goal of treating eating disorders such as overeating is to reduce the urge itself, as well as to gain healthy eating habits.
Since overeating is closely associated with feelings of embarrassment, a bad image of oneself and other negative emotions, treatment can also take into account mental health problems, such as depression. By looking for help with overeating, you will also learn to control yourself much better when it comes to nutrition.
Whether it’s an individual or a group session, psychotherapy (also known as talking therapy) can help you replace unhealthy habits with healthy ones, and in this way, you reduce your urge attacks. Examples of psychotherapy include:
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (KBT). This type of psychotherapy allows you to begin to better deal with triggers, such as negative feelings related to your appearance or depression. It can also give you a better sense of control when it comes to your behavior and eating habits.
- Interpersonal therapy. This type of therapy exclusively focuses on your relationships with other people. The goal is to help you improve your interpersonal relationships, i.e. your relationship with family, friends, and colleagues. This can help you reduce the triggers of overeating that are rooted in unhealthy relationships and unhealthy communication.
- Dialectal behavioral therapy. This type of therapy can help you learn skills that will allow you to better tolerate stress, regulate your emotions and improve your behavior towards others, which altogether reduces the desire for overeating.
Medicines That Can Be Helpful
There are certain drugs that are produced specifically for the purpose of combating overeating, from those less severe to severe cases in adults, with the main side effect of such drugs being that they can cause addiction and abuse. Common side effects are dry mouth and insomnia and can occur even more seriously. Drugs that are still used for this purpose are:
- Topiramate – medicines that are otherwise used to control the attack, but have been shown to be helpful in reducing episodes of overeating. However, in this case, there are certain side effects, such as dizziness, nervousness, drowsiness, difficulty concentrating, and you should definitely consult a doctor before taking these medicines.
- Antidepressants. It is not entirely clear how antidepressants affect the reduction of episodes of overeating, but it is probably related to the way they affect certain brain-related mood compounds.
However, no matter how these drugs are useful in controlling the eating movement, this does not necessarily mean that they will have any effect on weight loss.
Behavioral Programs Focused On Weight Loss
It has been shown that many people who have a problem with overeating also have innumerable attempts to lose weight. However, weight loss programs are usually not recommended as long as there is a problem with overeating, that is until this problem is solved, since the diets tend to serve as a trigger for overeating, and thus diets cannot be successful.
In cases where this is okay, weight loss programs are administered under medical supervision, which allows you to fulfill all your nutritional needs, and special behavioral programs are helpful, as they also allow you to fight triggers of overeating.
Treatment At Home
Typically, treatment of overeating disorder is not self-advised, but as an addition to the professional therapy you already receive is more than desirable, and here’s how to do it:
- Keep to your therapies. Do not skip the session. If you have a diet plan, keep it up to date, and do not let anything get you out of it.
- Avoid the diets, unless supervised. If you try to keep the diet while suffering from overeating disorder at the same time, this can bring you into a vicious circle that you will hardly get out of. Therefore, if you are intent on losing weight, do not keep the diet if this is not what your doctor recommended, listen to it, and find a solution that will help you more in this situation.
- Do not skip breakfast. Many people with this disorder are skipping breakfast, but if you start eating it regularly, it’s quite possible that you will less like eating high-calorie foods during the day.
- Edit your environment. The availability of certain foods can serve as a trigger for overeating in some people, so you should try to completely get rid of them or limit your exposure to such foods.
- Get enough nutritious foods. Just because you eat a lot during eating habits does not mean that foods that you eat are nutritious, which means that you will have to adjust your diet and enrich it with additional vitamins and minerals.
- Connect. Do not isolate yourself from members of your family and your friends who want to see you healthy, and who have your interest in mind.
- Activate. Ask your doctor what kind of physical activity is most appropriate for you, especially if you have health problems closely related to obesity.
My Final Word – Advise
Whether sweets, fast food or some other type of overeating is concerned, this kind of eating disorder is definitely not something that can be easily understood.
When it comes to eating help, both medical and psychological, it is imperative, and definitely, if you notice that you have a problem with something like this, you do not need to turn your eyes on and ignore the state you are in.
In this way, you can only exacerbate the situation, which is not what you want, because this problem is not unsolvable, but you just have to face it and fight it.
In case, you need any advice or information regarding this or any other problem that may be related to weight loss without a diet or with, you can find a variety of information here on my site that can absolutely help you.
Or if you would feel better, you can contact me personally bellow in the comment section or by contact form and I will be more than happy to assist you.