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What is Compulsive Eating?

Jul 6, 2008
Simply defined, compulsive eating is addiction to food. But more than just overeating, it has some psychological effects on a person, making them feel guilty and shameful of eating too much. Compulsive eating is an eating disorder that makes a person overweight, while going through a series of complications both physically and mentally.

Compulsive eating disorders affect a person's life and well being in different ways. The worst situation that you can be into is endangering your life after your social and psychological lives are ruined. However, you are not alone and the good news is many of them have recovered from this devastating crisis. All you need to do is to submit yourself to early professional help.

Once you decided to seek the help of a doctor, you have to let go and let him know about the real root of the problem. Doing so removes the barrier between you and your doctor. This is the most crucial step in order to ensure your fast recovery. Your doctor cannot do much unless he has the full knowledge of what your problem is about.

Signs and symptoms

The first tell-tale sign of compulsive eating is binge eating or eating uncontrollably. But after satisfying one's self in his meal, the same person goes through a strict diet, may even fast or skip meals, involve in rigorous exercises, and could force himself to vomit, just to remove the food he had eaten in his stomach. The use of laxatives after eating is yet another sign of compulsive eating.

Psychologically, compulsive overeater becomes too concerned with their body weight and tends to go through mood swings and depressions because of it. Physically, they would experience irregular periods and would develop dental problems, heartburn, and swollen cheek glands. They would feel bloated after every meal and may develop problems with drugs, alcohol, or the family.


Compulsive overeaters eventually develop hypertension due to their weight concerns. They would also get tired easily, even after simple exercises and physical activities. Weight gain will be apparent among them, while experiencing nausea off and on. People who tend to be compulsive eaters are also more prone to developing diseases such as cancer, high blood pressure, and diabetes.


Compulsive eating have many causes. Psychiatrists say that it could stem out of emotional conflicts, making the person turn to food for relief instead. It starts gradually until a person's eating patterns have been changed completely. It may start during childhood. Children who turn to food or are given food to ease their tantrums and distress tend to develop compulsive eating disorder when they grow up. Generally speaking, this disorder is apparent to people who uses food as a therapy to ease their problems, loneliness, and frustrations.


Professional help is required for people diagnosed to be compulsive overeaters. They need to consult with a psychiatrist and submit to a series of therapy and counseling. Studies have shown that talk therapy can treat a compulsive eater, while giving him nutritional and medical counseling. Counselors try to redirect a compulsive eater's attention from food as he solves his problems. With the right orientation, the person would then start addressing problems in the face rather than hiding under a pile of food.
About the Author
Jack L Bloom is the owner of Diet Step By Step. For more information about diet for bulimia visit the Diet for Bulimia page.
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