Eating Disorders: Compulsive Overeating / Binge Eating Disorder

Those who suffer from Compulsive Overeating (also known as binge eating) use food to calm stresses and life problems, numb feelings, and to fill a void. The compulsive overeater is usually aware that their eating habits are abnormal and often feel guilt and shame because of it. Their food consumption may consist of eating three meals a day with snacks in between, eating continuously throughout the day, or eating large amounts all at once. Though compulsive overeating often results in obesity, this does not mean that all obese people have this disorder. It is estimated that as many as 4 million adults suffer with this eating disorder, affecting two males to every three females. The physical complications of compulsive overeating are: weight gain, depression, gall bladder disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, bone deterioration, kidney disease/failure, arthritis, fatigue, nausea, and stroke.

Warning Signs of Binge Eating Disorder

"Here are some of the common warning signs that suggest a person may be suffering from binge eating disorder. The person:"
  • Eats large amounts of food when not physically hungry.
  • Eats much more rapidly than normal.
  • Eats until the point of feeling uncomfortably full.
  • Often eats alone because of shame or embarrassment.
  • Has feelings of depression, disgust, or guilt after eating.
  • Has a history of marked weight fluctuations.
According to "Several methods are being used to treat binge eating disorder. Cognitive-behavioral therapy teaches patients techniques to monitor and change their eating habits as well as to change the way they respond to difficult situations. Interpersonal psychotherapy helps people examine their relationships with friends and family and to make changes in problem areas. Treatment with medications such as antidepressants may be helpful for some individuals. Self-help groups also may be a source of support. Researchers are still trying to determine which method or combination of methods is the most effective in controlling binge eating disorder. The type of treatment that is best for an individual is a matter for discussion between the patient and his or her health care provider. If you believe you have binge eating disorder, it's important you realize that you are not alone. Most people who have the disorder have tried unsuccessfully to control it on their own. You may want to seek professional treatment."

Overeaters Anonymous has a 12 step program for compulsive overeaters.

compiled from the following sources:


Samantha said...

I'd like to say that COE & BED are similar but are not the same thing. COE (compulsive over-eating) is where the person coninuously overeats, grazing throught out the day, snacking, overeating at meals, overeating with snacks, etc.
I used to be one and never had a binge session, but would almost constantly feel full and or bloated and would wait for just a little room to clear out of stomach just to eat a little more.

BED (binge-eating disorder) is where the person gorges themselves on (usually) thousands of calories at one time in one sitting, often to the point of extreme discomfort. Binge eaters almost always do this in private while COE sufferers may be less reluctant to eat in public.

Of course there are exceptions in every case I just wanted to state that COE & BED are NOT the same thing!