Eating disorders occupy a special place among mental disorders. Many people know about the dangers of diseases such as bulimia and anorexia, but specialists rarely talk about compulsive overeating. But this type of disorder occurs quite often, both in women and men of different ages.What is compulsive overeating? This term refers to the excessive consumption of food, which is popularly called gluttony. But the cause of such behavior is not a lack of willpower, natural laziness or a person’s temperament. At the heart of overeating are psychological factors. That is why it is possible to cope with the problem only with the help of an experienced psychotherapist who specializes in the correction of eating behavior.
Features of the Disease
In everyone’s life, there have been times when he ate more food than necessary. The result of such overeating: heaviness and discomfort in the stomach. But such situations occur rarely, and, as a rule, at moments of holiday feasts. In a person who has a psychological disorder, the eating process almost never ends. With compulsive overeating, the patient may for a moment go on a diet, but this leads only to another breakdown and more gluttony.
The main difference between this type of eating disorder and bulimia is that the person doesn’t try to get rid of what he has eaten by artificial means (causing vomiting), although the feeling of shame is strong enough.
However, the amount of food eaten in one sitting must be large. The fact is that often people suffering from eating disorders believe that they eat a lot, but the amount of food they eat doesn’t exceed the norm. In this case, we can talk about other types of pathology.
People around them may not always realize that the person next to them has an eating disorder. The patient eats a lot only when he is alone, he can stockpile food to indulge in gluttony later.
Often the body weight of a person suffering from compulsive overeating is normal. The first signs of obesity appear some time after the onset of the disease.
The presence of psychological problems can be judged by the following symptoms:
- Food is consumed in quantities far in excess of the norm (the amount of food sufficient to satisfy the hunger of an average adult).
- The time between meals is short – it rarely reaches 2 hours.
- The person eats greedily and quickly. The speed is as fast as the speed of the best athlete from 20Bet ratings, and it may seem to others that he or she is experiencing extreme hunger.
- The person doesn’t eat because he is hungry. Often the reason for another meal is stress, loneliness, or another emotional reason.
- With compulsive overeating, the person realizes that they are unable to control their appetite and stop.
- The process of ingesting food often stops only when pain appears in the stomach area.
- After another bout of gluttony, the person feels guilty. He is so upset and unhappy that he may become depressed, which leads to another episode of overeating.
If the symptoms described above are present for a long enough time (at least 3 months), it may indicate the presence of serious eating disorders. It is not possible to cope with this problem on your own with the help of diets – to achieve sustainable results, you need to undergo a therapy course.
Causes of Compulsive Binge Eating
No one can name the exact cause of the development of compulsive eating disorders. To date, there is an opinion that the disorder occurs as a response of the body to a stressful situation. Give the impetus to the beginning of psychogenic overeating can be such factors:
- Uncontrollable hunger can be caused by disorders in the hypothalamus. This part of the brain is responsible for satiety – when it stops sending signals, a person experiences constant hunger. Among other biological causes of overeating experts call the decrease in serotonin levels.
- Often the reasons for overeating are the specifics of the cultural and social environment. From birth, a child gets used to the idea that food can serve as a reward. Or socially accepted norms can lead to the development of nervous disorders in people who don’t conform to them. The compulsive eater feels inadequate and develops a secondary depression that leads to another bout of gluttony.
- Overeating can also have psychological causes. The relationship of uncontrolled eating and depression was revealed by researchers long ago. People with low self-esteem, suffering from loneliness and misunderstanding are prone to gluttony.
Besides, it has been noted that the tendency to psychogenic overeating can be hereditary.
The Dangers of Psychogenic Overeating
Perhaps some people think that gluttony isn’t the worst of psychological disorders. But the problems with excess weight, which arise as a result of eating a huge amount of diverse food, is the most harmless consequence of this pathology. The sick person is more often than others in a state of depression, he is constantly tormented by anxiety, worry and fears. In some cases, people resort to alcohol or drugs, in an attempt to cope with gluttony, but it only worsens the situation.
Obesity can also lead to physical health problems. Most often obese people suffer from diabetes, they have several times higher risk of cancer, heart rhythm disorders and develop hypertension. Other problems can include joint diseases, snoring, thyroid gland abnormalities, various diseases of the digestive and intestinal organs.
Recognizing Overeating Caused by Psychogenic Causes
Diagnosis, as well as treatment of this type of eating disorder, requires the participation of several specialists. The examination is done both psychologically and somatically. Doctors will conduct a general examination of the patient and examine his entire medical history. Identified predisposing factors such as stress, hormonal disorders, psychogenic disorders, a period of prolonged hunger.
Instrumental investigations are also necessary. Cholesterol level, blood sugar content, and gastric secretion are checked in the laboratory. With the help of special equipment, the stomach, intestines and other organs involved in the process of digestion are examined.
The diagnosis will be made if there are persistent symptoms of overeating and other types of diseases that can lead to loss of appetite control are excluded.
How to Cope With the Problem Yourself
If the disorder is in the initial stages of development, it is possible to make attempts to overcome it on your own. This will be the first step on the road to recovery. If alarming symptoms occur, you should:
- seek help. We are not talking about a visit to a therapist. Tell your loved one about your problem. In some cases, the statement of the problem helps to find ways out of it. Besides, support of loved ones inspires us with strength and confidence in success, freedom from insecurity and loneliness.
- Do not stigmatize yourself. Negative labels that sick people put on themselves hinder recovery. Even if you eat too much food, you don’t become a bad person. Overeating is not a crime, but an illness that requires treatment.
- You don’t have to divide all foods into bad or good. It is important to understand that you can eat everything, but in small amounts. If you stick to this rule, you can also afford some french fries or a piece of cream cake.
- Try to pause during meals. Pause and evaluate how you feel. If a person uses food as a sedative, he or she may miss the satiety signal sent from the brain.
- Change your habits or environment. What surrounds us has a big influence on our lifestyle and eating culture. A compulsive eater should try to eat in company as often as possible. Go to cafes or invite friends over.
- Give yourself the right to be weak. Many people who are gluttonous and overweight make a list of forbidden foods. You should not do this, because it is unlikely to cope with temptation. And after some time of abstinence you will again indulge in gluttony. If you want something, then eat it now, but not much. In this case the feeling of guilt, which is the key trigger mechanism of compulsive overeating, will not arise.
These methods of getting rid of eating disorders are quite effective. But only in rare cases, sick people can cope with bouts of gluttony on their own. With severe forms of the disorder, the help of specialists is simply necessary. Only with a combination of psychotherapy and self-control can sustainable results be achieved.