Posted by: cindy | July 26, 2008

What is Compulsive Overeating?

Definition of Compulsive Overeating

The National Institute of Mental Health indicates that “community surveys have estimated between 2% and 5% of Americans experience binge-eating disorder in a 6-month period.”

Symptoms of binge-eating disorder include:

Recurrent episodes of binge eating, characterized by eating an excessive amount of
within a discrete period of time and by a sense of lack of control over eating
during the episode.

The binge-eating episodes are associated with at least 3 of the following: eating
much more rapidly than normal; eating until feeling uncomfortably full; eating large
amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry; eating alone because of being
embarrassed by how much one is eating; feeling disgusted with oneself, depressed,
or very guilty after overeating.

Marked distress about the binge-eating behavior;
The binge-eating occurs, on average, at least 2 days a week for 6 months,
The binge-eating is not associated with the regular use of inappropriate
compensatory behaviors (e.g. purging, fasting, excessive exercise).

People with binge-eating disorder experience frequent episodes of out-of-control
with the same binge-eating symptoms as those of bulimia. The main difference is that individuals with binge-eating disorder do not purge their bodies of excess calories. Therefore, many with the disorder are overweight for their age and height. Feelings of self-disgust, and shame associated with this illness can lead to binging again, creating a cycle of binge-eating. The Institute recognizes binge eating as an eating disorder with severe consequences that cannot be reversed by simply attempting to apply willpower. The binge eater is seen as being out of control and obsessed with food.

But the National Institute of Mental Health also states that “eating disorders can be treated and a healthy weight restored. The sooner these disorders are diagnosed and treated, the better the outcomes are likely to be.”
A compulsive over eater is at health risk for a heart attack, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, kidney disease and/or failure, cancer, arthritis and bone deterioration, and stroke. Additional health risks include decreased mobility due to weight gain, insomnia, sleep apnea, and deteriorating mental health accompanied by declining intimacy.






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