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Compulsive Overeating Disorder

Compulsive Overeating Disorder

Have you ever been called a hog? Does it always happen that everyone on the table got through their 4th course and you're still not done? You may be suffering from a compulsive overeating disorder.
PsycholoGenie Staff
You may well kid yourself saying that you are a 'gourmet' or a 'food enthusiast'. But think for yourself, is this notion true? How many people around you would actually buy that? Are you always the first one on the table and the last one to get up? Does your mouth water a bit too much at the sight of food? Do you end up having 6 meals a day? Has food become the cornerstone of your existence? In short, are you becoming the famous cat, Garfield?

Well, Garfield may be a cute cartoon alright, but no one would like to be someone like that in real life. You may just be suffering from a compulsive eating disorder or a binge eating disorder.

Binge Eating Disorder

What is binge eating?
A person having a compulsive overeating disorder is said to be addicted to food. People who have reported an eating mania seem to think that food has become a bit of an obsession for them. Compulsive overeaters claim that they get a high out of eating, much like alcoholics get from alcohol. In most people, there is a nerve in the brain that tells us when our stomachs are full, but in compulsive eaters their addiction to food does not let them heed the warnings. Overeaters end up consuming large amounts of food even when they are not hungry. They get caught in a cycle of guilt and overeating. They feel guilty and depressed due to their condition and hence in an effort to reduce the overwhelming feeling of guilt, an overeater will gobble down more food.

Worse is when they try out some impossible diet plans. Usually a binge eater is going to need some awesome will power to stay away from food. If it works, it's all good. But mostly binge eaters can't do these diets and then hate themselves for not being able to stick to something that is actually good for them. If a diet is enforced on them, they will resort to eating a lot more and very secretly, which is only going to compound their problem.

Why do they eat so much?
There may be several reasons why a person has a compulsive overeating disorder. Some people are simply seduced at the sight of food. Hamburgers for some are just too much to resist! Others have it as an emotional placebo. They eat to cope with daily stresses, or to fill a void inside. Some people with a hidden sorrow try to hold it back by eating. People who are shunned or unaccepted, or have a nagging feeling of insecurity or inferiority, turn to food as a therapeutic to push back those feelings. These are the people that get caught in the vicious circle of eating for relief. Overeaters eat obsessively, then have obesity problems and then to hide their true feelings of self-hate and low self-esteem, they turn to eating and grow even more obese.

What can be the consequence?
Obesity! We need not look beyond this one word to know what will happen if we ate too much. The problem with overeating is that you are going to eat a lot of 'feel good' foods that have high fat, sugar and cholesterol content. Rarely does one come across a compulsive overeater with a spinach or a fiber fetish. Chances are you're going to eat a lot of cheesy burritos, pizzas, cookies and other high calorie foods to curb your eating and then have a trail of obesity related diseases follow you. Cardiovascular disease, liver disease, kidney disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke are just some problems which you might end up having to cope with. It may sound far-fetched, but if you're a bit too heavy, there will be chances of premature arthritis and bone deterioration.

How do I stop overeating?
You're not going to like me saying this, but overeating is very much a psychological problem and the way to fight it is to visit a psychiatrist who can prescribe a good plan to cure the problem. The most popular therapies for overeating include cognitive-behavioral therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy. Some people may also opt for antidepressants. Otherwise just exercise to nullify the effects of overeating!

The way out of an overeating disorder is to increase your self-esteem and to feel good about yourself. Hang out with people who make you feel better about yourself. Give yourself a little pep-talk every time you wake up in the morning each day. Start following a healthy regimen. Joining a recovery group such as Overeaters Anonymous can also prove helpful. Always try to turn your negatives into positives. And finally, always remember - Do not live to eat, but eat to live!