What is binge eating? A person suffering from compulsive overeating, as a rule, begins to gain weight, and he is well aware that his habit regarding food consumption is abnormal. He seeks emotional comfort, trying to find it in eating food, which leads to obesity and related problems in society.


Compulsive overeating (psychogenic overeating): symptoms and signs

For a binge eater, words like "just go on a diet" can be emotionally devastating, as it's not so much a matter of sustenance as it is an opportunity to deal with emotional stress.

People who suffer from compulsive overeating sometimes hide behind their appearance, using it as a shield against society - this is common in women who have experienced sexual violence. She may feel guilty for not looking good enough (according to society's standards), ashamed for being overweight, and generally has very low self-esteem. Her constant overeating is an attempt to cope with these feelings, which, due to this addiction, only intensifies, forming a vicious circle that leads to even more dissatisfaction with herself and even more overeating.

Having low self-esteem and a burning need for love and approval, she may try to suppress these needs by wasting money and overeating. Even when she really wants to stop eating a lot, she cannot cope with the disease without help. The inability to stop it, despite the potentially life-threatening consequences, is a sign of a pathological addiction that needs to be treated.


What are the signs and symptoms of compulsive overeating?

Signs and symptoms of binge eating include:

  • overeating or uncontrolled consumption of food, even in the absence of physical hunger
  • the rate of food consumption is much higher than usual
  • eating alone out of shame and embarrassment
  • feeling guilty about overeating
  • preoccupation with body weight
  • depression or mood swings
  • the realization that such a food system is abnormal
  • cessation of all activity due to embarrassment due to being overweight
  • unsuccessful attempts to use different diets
  • eating a small amount of food in crowded places, but maintaining a large body weight
  • the strong belief that life will get better when they can lose weight
  • leaving food in strange places (closets, cupboards, suitcases, under the bed)
  • indeterminate or secretive diet
  • self-abasement after eating
  • a strong belief that food is their only friend
  • weight gain
  • loss of sexual desire or promiscuity
  • fatigue

Unlike bulimia nervosa, binge eaters do not get rid of excess calories after each binge episode, either through vomiting, exercise, or taking laxatives.


The danger of compulsive overeating

Compulsive overeating leads to emotional, psychological, and physiological side effects that greatly reduce the quality of life and rob you of hope for the future.

When binge eaters consume excessive amounts of food, they often experience a feeling of euphoria, similar to that which occurs with drug use. They experience temporary relief from psychological stress and a distraction from feelings of sadness, shame, loneliness, anger, or fear. Researchers have suggested that this is due to abnormal endorphin metabolism in the brain.

In the case of compulsive overeating, eating causes the release of the neurotransmitter serotonin. This may be another sign of neurobiological factors contributing to addiction. Attempts to stop systematic overeating can lead to increased levels of depression and anxiety due to a decrease in serotonin levels.

Left untreated, compulsive overeating can lead to serious illnesses and conditions, including:

  • high cholesterol
  • diabetes
  • heart diseases
  • hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • sleep apnea (temporary cessation of breathing during sleep)
  • depression
  • kidney disease
  • arthritis
  • bone wear
  • stroke

What do you need to know?

Compulsive overeating is a very serious eating disorder, especially if it is accompanied by concomitant disorders such as bulimia nervosa, etc. Compulsive overeating is a disease that can lead to irreversible complications, even death. If you are unsure whether you or a loved one has a binge eating disorder, you should seek qualified medical attention to diagnose and prescribe appropriate treatment. You can also independently try to determine what type of disorder you or your loved one suffers from, which this material can help you with.

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