Compulsive eating is a form of eating behavior in which a person consumes food in a way that feels out of control, has an emotional component, and involves consuming an excessive amount of food. In and of itself, compulsive eating is not an eating disorder. It can be a distinguishing feature of eating disorders such as bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder.
This condition resembles a binge eating disorder. COE is distinguished by the fact that the person does not binge in spurts, but rather consumes excessive amounts of food all day. The sensations associated with compulsive overeating are more important than the amount invested in a single episode of compulsive overeating. Without the existence of single, major binges, compulsive overeating could be present in a pattern. Many doctors believe the distinction between the two definitions is minor in practice. People appear and talk about binges, compulsion, and food addiction. The underlying sentiments of loss of control, disgust, and secrecy, as well as the link between food consumption and painful emotions, are the most typical characteristics.
Symptoms of Compulsive Eating Disorder
Overeating compulsively is a major eating problem marked by an obsessive or compulsive relationship with food. The following are some of the most common symptoms of compulsive overeating:
• Binge eating, or the inability to stop eating even when you aren’t hungry.
• Eating at a faster rate than usual.
• Eating alone because of shame, humiliation, or fear of sadness, mood swings, exhaustion, or insomnia.
• A history of weight changes as a result of long-term dieting.
• Secretive eating habits, such as hiding food in unusual places so that it can be eaten at a later time.
• Feelings of intense remorse and pain following a binge.
Causes of Compulsive Eating Disorder
There is no recognized etiology for an obsessive eating disorder. Many experts, however, feel that a mix of genetic, physical, social, and psychological variables may play a role in the disorder’s development.
Serotonin, for example, may influence eating habits, according to research. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter found in the brain that affects mood, learning, and sleep, among other things.
Complications of Compulsive Eating Disorder
Overeating compulsively is an eating disorder that is caused by emotional concerns and requires treatment to overcome. High cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, sleep apnea, kidney disease, arthritis, stroke, and depression can all result from compulsive overeating if left untreated.
Prevention of Compulsive Eating Disorder
It is not always possible to avoid compulsive overeating. This is especially true if the problem began in childhood. However, the following suggestions may be useful:
• Avoid following fad diets. They are easily capable of causing sensations of deprivation. Binge eating is a result of these sentiments.
• Examine your body image. If you have a negative body image, go to a dietician, nutritionist, or psychologist.
• Recognize when you’re eating for comfort. Speak with your healthcare practitioner if you are sad, angry, or anxious.
• Be aware of how you react to social media. Unrealistic expectations resulting from social media posts might lead to anxiety and sadness. These reactions have the potential to lead to a binge.
Diagnosis of Compulsive Eating Disorder
Because there is no single test that can indicate whether someone has a compulsive eating problem or is simply overeating, doctors must gather medical, family, and mental health information to diagnose this illness. The symptoms listed below can aid in the diagnosis of a compulsive eating disorder.
• Eating a small amount in public and a large amount in private
• Negative self-perceptions based on weight
• Suffering from depression as a result of overeating
• Are your eating habits tormenting you?
• Changing diets several times
Treatment of Compulsive Eating Disorder
Overeating can be overcome with the help of counselling. Treatment will include psychological counselling (i.e., resolving the emotional issues needed to have a healthy connection with food) as well as nutritional counselling to teach the individual how to maintain a balanced diet. Learning coping skills to identify the emotional and external triggers that drive an overeater to binge, as well as improving self-esteem and confidence, are common components of therapy.