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What is Compulsive Eating?

Compulsive eaters feel incapable of controlling how much or how often they eat. They may feel unable to stop eating, eat very fast, eat when they're not hungry, eat when they're only alone, or eat nearly non-stop throughout the day. Learn about the effects of compulsive eating and ways to receive help for this eating disorder.

People who feel unable to control how much or how often they eat may be suffering from compulsive eating disorder. People with compulsive eating disorder can benefit significantly from therapy. While compulsive eating can be a challenging pattern to overcome, it is possible to learn new, healthier eating habits. If left untreated, the consequences can be severe and may lead to even more dangerous eating disorders such as binge-eating disorder or bulimia nervosa.

Symptoms

People with compulsive eating disorder feel unable to stop eating, eat very fast, eat when they're not hungry, eat only when alone, or eat nearly non-stop throughout the day. Compulsive eaters often over-indulge in sugary foods and use them in an attempt to elevate their mood. When they don't eat the foods they crave, they often experience severe withdrawal symptoms.

Causes

There are many factors that can influence the onset of compulsive eating disorder, including family history, metabolism, developmental factors, and personality factors. Some people seem to develop compulsive eating patterns as a way to cope with such feelings as stress, helplessness, or anxiety.

Treatment

There are therapists who are especially experienced at helping people who suffer from eating disorders. Therapy provides a safe, comforting, and confidential setting in which to receive the kind of help that can best determine and treat any underlying emotional or psychological causes of compulsive eating disorder and encourage new, healthier eating habits while also addressing the effects compulsive eating has had on other areas of the person's life, including family, friends, and work.

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