Compulsive overeaters are another type of eating disorders. Compulsive overeaters are caught in a cycle of depression and binge eating. Food is often used as a coping method to help handle uncomfortable feelings. Some suffers say that their overeating episodes are used to numb all that is going on around them. Some even describe it as an addiction to food, in turn using it to hide from their emotions.
People that suffer from compulsive eating disorders usually are overweight. They are also usually aware that their eating habits are not normal. For many sufferers binges may not be broken into specific episodes but into days where they eat more than normal throughout the day. There are many triggers for the compulsive eater which may include depression, stress, boredom, anxiety and prolonged dieting. Most have a big dissatisfaction with their body image.
During a binge, the stress and negative feelings may temporarily disappear. Unfortunately after the binge, feelings of shame, more depression and disgust follow. Often the episodes of bingeing are usually kept secret and any evidence of overeating is hidden so others cannot see.
It sometimes can be hard to spot an overeater because it is not uncommon for the sufferer to eat normal and even restrictively in front of family and friends. Then later they may binge in private. Overeaters often binge late at night, when their family is asleep. They will also frequent fast food restaurants and convenience stores alone. Most compulsive eaters have a stash of junk food hidden from others for their personal use later.
Similar to other eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia, overeaters are forever struggling and are very unhappy with their weight. With a compulsive overeater, the number on the scale that morning determines how the sufferer feels about themselves. The constant dieting becomes a way of life for the compulsive overeater.
Compulsive overeaters often try every diet fad that comes around. With each diet that is tried, there is hope that this is the one. This diet will be the one to work. It may work at first; there may be some weight loss success with the new diet. Unfortunately in most cases the diet fails. Most often all the weight that was lost is regained. Then the cycle continues, because of the failure there is depression, the overeater will return to bingeing for comfort.
There are medical complications for the compulsive overeater. The overeating behavior can lead to severe and sometimes life threatening medical conditions such as hypertension and cardiac problems. Diabetes and severe depression are also major complications. Like other eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, compulsive overeating is a disease and it can't be cured with willpower alone, health professionals are needed along with family and friends support.
There are some warning signs to look for if you suspect someone is suffering from compulsive overeating. The warning signs are: eating large quantities of food, even though they are not hungry. Eating fast and eating to the point that they are uncomfortably full, are other signs of compulsive overeating. A sufferer may choose to eat alone because of embarrassment. A compulsive overeater will have feelings of depression and guilt along with disgust after eating. They may also have a history of weight fluctuations.
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