Compulsive Overeating: Spotting Signs and Symptoms

by Michael Russell - Date: 2007-01-21 - Word Count: 500 Share This!

Eating Disorders are usually associated with Anorexia and Bulimia. When someone says "eating disorders", it usually makes one think of skinny girls with hollow faces and protruding ribs. But there is another group of people who also suffer from another kind of eating disorder and they do not necessarily try to starve themselves. In fact, they do quite the opposite and it's a condition that they wish they didn't have to live with.

Compulsive overeating is an "addiction" to food. The common thread between this type of disorder and Anorexia/Bulimia is that the behavior is rooted in feelings of low self - esteem. Compulsive overeaters rely on food to help them cope with stress and anxiety, or as a way to make up for the things that they feel are missing in their lives.

Compulsive eaters are usually overweight and aware that they have an eating disorder, but find it difficult to change since the problem lies in their inability to properly cope with emotional issues.

Men and Women who suffer from this disorder are at high risk for high blood pressure and cholesterol, kidney failure, arthritis, bone deterioration, stroke and most especially heart attack.

Here are some symptoms experienced by individuals suffering from compulsive overeating:

. Difficulty in maintaining a healthy weight

. Not being able to control eating

. Prefers to eat alone because they are ashamed of eating habits

. Resulting weight gain can lead to other problems like high blood pressure, cholesterol and leg and joint pain.

. Tries to lose weight by trying popular diet fads but this often results in eventual failure

. Perspires easily and experiences shortness of breath even when physical activity is relatively light

. Has a significantly increased appetite when stressed or anxious

. Has the tendency to blame their "being fat" whenever they fail in their social or professional life - also thinks that losing weight will greatly improve their happiness and sense of fulfillment

. Tends to feel that food is their only friend

. Stores food in odd places for their convenience (usually inside their bedrooms, so that they wouldn't have to walk to the kitchen if ever they feel like eating.)

Compulsive overeating is accompanied with much guilt and shame. People with this condition often feel that they are not good enough and are ashamed that they could not control their eating habits. This only makes it worse because their negative feelings only lead them to more compulsive overeating. Food is how compulsive overeaters deal with their craving for acceptance and appreciation. Some use their overweight appearance to keep people away because they subconsciously feel undeserving of love, while others use it as punishment whenever they feel bad about themselves. One does not become successful in overcoming this condition unless they gather up the courage to face the real emotions they are afraid to feel and unless they can honestly admit the issues that cause them to be stuck in this destructive behavior. All this of course, would be a difficult accomplishment without professional help and the support of friends and loved ones.

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