Compulsive eating disorder is characterized by an obsessive-compulsive relationship to food. This condition is also known as compulsive overeating or binge eating. This common eating disorder makes people eat more and more, even after they are completely full. The condition manifests as an addiction to food, in which the affected person uses food to hide from real emotions and cope with daily stress and problems. Compulsive overeating usually leads to weight gain and obesity and, if left untreated, it can lead to serious medical conditions such as high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, sleep apnea and major depression.
Signs of compulsive eating disorder
People with compulsive eating disorders usually eat very quickly and they don’t stop eating even if they are really full. The very fact that they don’t feel physical hunger is not enough for them to stop eating. They will probably continue taking food until they are uncomfortably full. This literally means they eat abnormally large amounts of food. The compulsive eating disorder has a complex emotional mechanism, which makes people feel guilty and ashamed after overeating. Because of this fact, compulsive overeaters usually eat alone, because they are embarrassed about the amount of food they eat. But, on the other hand, people with compulsive eating disorder do not attempt to compensate for their binging with purging behaviors such as fasting, laxative use or vomiting. They are so obsessed with food that they usually spend much time thinking about the food and planning their meals.
Causes of compulsive eating disorder
There is no definite cause of compulsive eating disorder. Scientists believe that about half of the population affected with this condition are depressed or have been depressed in the past. The mechanism is so complex that no one knows for sure whether depression causes compulsive eating disorder or whether compulsive eating disorder causes depression. Surveys have revealed that many people who are compulsive overeaters eat when they are angry, sad, bored, worried or stressed. This worsens the problem as the compulsive overeaters hide behind their physical appearance, using it as a blockade against society. Binge eating disorder is more common in women than in men. It affects three women for every two men.
Treatment for compulsive eating disorder
Compulsive eating disorder is treatable with counseling and therapy. The treatment involves talk therapy, medical and nutritional counseling. It is estimated that treatment works in approximately 80 percent of all cases. The aim of treatment is to outdo emotional conflicts and help the sufferer to develop a healthy relationship with food.