Am I an Overeater?

Am I am Overeater?

Compulsive overeating disorder is described as a food addiction where individuals who have uncontrollable eating or bingeing, while feeling anxious or out of control. Often they will consume large amounts of food, well past the feeling of being full which is usually followed with feelings of depression and guilt. Unlike other eating disorders, compulsive eaters do not try to counterbalance this behaviour with purging activities such as vomiting or using laxatives.

Compulsive Overeating Symptoms

Compulsive eating disorder is a serious illness that without treatment, will progress over time. There are some telltale signs of this disorder to help identify if you or a loved one may be suffering from compulsive overeating. These include:

    • Eating that becomes uncontrollable, even when not hungry. This behaviour may cause an individual to miss work or stop participating in activities they once enjoyed. They may even awakening during the night to eat.


    • A preoccupation with food and body weight. These symptoms can manifest as discussing exercise and diet excessively, going out to buy food no matter what time of day or hiding food from others.


    • Feelings of shame and guilt after overeating. Although these feelings occur, it does not stop the compulsion. Mood swings and depression may be present as these symptoms are often associated with underlying causes for the compulsive eating disorder.

Health Risks

Overeating disorder is a potential minefield both physiologically, and psychologically with serious consequences for the sufferer if the disorder it left untreated. Physiologically overeating disorder can easily cause obesity which can lead to physical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol and diabetes. Psychologically overeaters struggle with their feelings of disgust, guilt and depression as they worry about what this behaviour is doing to their bodies. They desperately want to stop overeating but feel powerless over this, and thus they may turn to substance abuse to relief their pain or become seriously depressed with suicidal thoughts.


Medical researchers have suggested that overeating disorders could be caused by the rise in serotonin levels while eating, which affect the pleasure centres in the brain, causing the food addiction. However there is an important psychological factor to this disorder. Overeaters often use food to hide their emotions and to fill the emptiness within or they use food as a way of coping with stress. Many individuals who suffer with this disorder have feelings of guilt or shame from being overweight. They also have low self-esteem and use food to help cover up their pain, which only leaves them feeling worse.


Overeating is considered a behavioural pattern that stems from emotional problems. As a result residential holistic therapy is the treatment that will help treat the issue, but go beyond the eating disorder and challenge the behaviour surrounding food. Without addressing the underlying issues there will always be a strong chance of relapse. This is why Life Works are specialists in treating eating disorders such as compulsive overeating disorder, as they help the sufferer come to terms with their problem and work out how to change their whole relationship with food.

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