Compulsive Overeating

Compulsive Overeating

People with compulsive overeating typically eat excessive amounts of food—but not because they’re hungry. Instead, they eat to feel better, to feel happy. The opposite happens. They feel a loss of control, as if they have no willpower. And the eating begins again.

Compulsive Overeating Is Not About Hunger

People with compulsive overeating may sometimes eat in binges, but they may also engage in “grazing” behavior, picking at food throughout the day. They may excessively dwell on thoughts about food, sometimes secretly fantasizing about eating and contriving ways to eat alone.

Compulsive overeating often leads to weight gain, but people of all sizes can struggle with it. Psychological illnesses as well as physical medical conditions, such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease, often add complexity to the unhealthy behavior.


Compulsive Overeating Warning Signs

This eating disorder is often entwined with other issues that threaten emotional and physical health. Some indications include:

  • Weight gain
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Feelings of guilt or shame
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Personality disorder
  • Withdrawal from social situations or events
  • Fatigue

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Binge Eating Disorder

Binge Eating Disorder

People with binge eating disorder repeatedly and uncontrollably consume large amounts of food. Guilt, shame, and distress builds. Binge eating disorder can also result in excessive weight gain over time, adding to body dissatisfaction which can perpetuate a cycle of yo-yo dieting. Efforts at dieting often end with another binge eating episode, and the cycle and distress continue.

Recovery Breaks The Binge Eating Cycle

Binge eating disorder typically involves excessive food intake while feeling a loss of control with food. Binge eating behaviors may be experienced as comforting or soothing negative emotions, yet the “comfort” does not last. People with binge eating disorder often swing to the other extreme and begin highly restrictive diets, which often ends in bingeing again—and more negative feelings. It’s more than yo-yo dieting, however, it is an eating disorder.

To compound the situation, a diagnosis of binge eating disorder may be accompanied by other mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety. Binge eating disorder may also contribute to physical conditions, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol levels, cardiovascular disease, and Type 2 diabetes. Binge eating disorder can affect anyone at any weight, size or shape, age, or gender.

The Emily Program understands the physical and emotional strain of binge eating disorder. We’re here to help with personalized treatment programs that free you or your loved one from its ravaging ups and downs, paving the way to a more peaceful relationship with food and self.


Binge Eating Disorder Warning Signs

A combination of risk factors may cause binge eating, such as family history, genetics, dieting, related psychological conditions, and substance abuse, but no single factor causes binge eating. Some indications include:

  • Repeated and frequent excessive food consumption without hunger
  • Using food to cope with negative emotions, but feeling distressed, disgusted, guilty, or depressed instead
  • No compensatory behaviors to “make up” for the calorie intake, such as purging or over-exercise
  • Feelings of loss of control, self-loathing, depression, anxiety, shame
  • Insomnia, joint or muscle pain, and/or headaches
  • Menstrual problems
  • Suicidal thoughts

Read more about the physical effects of binge eating disorder here


 

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Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa repeats a frequent cycle that involves eating unusually large amounts of food, followed by purging (self-induced vomiting), fasting, laxative abuse, excessive exercise, and/or other compensatory behaviors. Over time, the physically damaging effects of bulimia mirror its intense emotional toll. The Emily Program can help you or your loved one break the cycle.

The Shame that Accompanies Bulimia Nervosa

Outward appearances often disguise the secret lives of people who struggle with bulimia nervosa. Those struggling with bulimia often weigh within or slightly above the normal range for their age. Yet, they typically harbor deep fears of weight gain or they desperately seek weight loss. They feel unhappy about their body size and shape—even as they binge on thousands of calories in a single episode.

People with bulimia try to compensate for gorging by ridding themselves of the excess food, sometimes privately vomiting multiple times a day. They may purchase laxatives from multiple stores to “stock up” for their uncontrolled eating episodes. Sometimes they can’t afford the laxatives or their preferred binge food, and they want to hide the expenditures from a parent or spouse, so they steal instead. All of this secrecy amplifies their feelings of disgust, guilt, or shame. The Emily Program can help you or your loved one break this vicious cycle.


Bulimia Nervosa Warning Signs

  • Frequently and repetitively eating large quantities of food, especially sweets
  • Uncontrolled eating, particularly after a restrictive diet or in response to a stressful or negative situation
  • Compensatory behavior to offset weight gain such as vomiting, laxatives, fasting or over-exercising
  • Leaving for the bathroom immediately after eating
  • Swollen cheeks from self-induced vomiting
  • Yellow, sensitive, slightly pointed teeth, often with receding gum lines
  • Skin sores or gray or brown skin spots
  • Broken blood vessels in the eyes
  • Excessive talk about weight
  • Dissatisfaction with body image, size, or shape
  • Misuse of diuretics, diet pills, or laxatives
  • Feeling out of control, depressed, or anxious

Dentists may first notice signs of bulimia nervosa, because repetitive vomiting permanently erodes tooth enamel and discolors teeth. Bulimia causes damage to the esophagus, kidneys, stomach, intestines, lung, and heart, too. This eating disorder may also disrupt normal bowel function, cause electrolyte imbalances, and pose other serious and life-threatening health conditions.

Read more about the physical effects of bulimia here

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Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa twists perception. It convinces people to see themselves as overweight, even when they are starved or malnourished. Eating, food, and weight control become obsessions. Tragically, anorexia nervosa is among the most deadly of all mental illnesses.

The Frightening Truth About Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder characterized by abnormally low body weight caused by malnourishment. A person struggling with anorexia nervosa often has a distorted perception of their weight and an intense fear of gaining weight. Although diet programs may be the “gateway” to the condition, the diet itself is not responsible for the onset of an eating disorder. Anorexia nervosa is not a choice, a fad, or a phase. It’s a painful internal emotion of fear associated both with food and with the perception of one’s own body.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, people with anorexia nervosa are up to ten times more likely to die as a result of their illness compared to those without the condition. Complications from starvation, such as cardiac arrest, organ failure, electrolyte and fluid imbalances, and suicide claim the lives of adolescents and adults every year.


Anorexia Nervosa Warning Signs

People with anorexia nervosa typically weigh themselves repeatedly, portion food carefully, and eat small quantities of a narrow variety of foods. Anxiety, depression, or difficulty concentrating may also accompany these warning signs:

  • Relentless pursuit of thinness
  • Unwillingness to maintain a healthy weight
  • Extremely disturbed eating behavior
  • Distortion of body image
  • Intense fear of gaining weight
  • Over-exercise
  • Misuse of diuretics, diet pills, or laxatives

Anorexia nervosa can start as early as age 8 and as late as middle age, but its onset is most common around or just after puberty. Adults are likely to experience a dramatic drop in weight, while adolescents or children may fail to gain weight and slip from their expected weight-growth pattern. By definition, individuals with anorexia nervosa are below normal weight standards.

Females often experience either a delay in starting menstruation or a loss of menstrual functioning (amenorrhea). Other medical conditions may also be present, such as anemia, dry skin and scalp, osteoporosis, lowered body temperature and blue fingertips, and slow thinking due to brain shrinkage.

Everything in the person’s regular daily life suffers as the condition controls thoughts and behaviors. Family ties, friendships, romantic relationships, schoolwork or career—they’re all jeopardized by the condition. The joy of life wilts under its stress.

Read more about the physical effects of anorexia here

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About Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are serious illnesses

Eating disorders are real, complex illnesses that can cause severe harm. Like schizophrenia or diabetes, eating disorders are not a choice, fad, or phase. Eating disorders are also more prevalent than many people realize, and they rarely resolve on their own. Fortunately, they are treatable. The Emily Program provides personalized treatment plans that help each person on the path to recovery.

The Emily Program offers proven and personalized treatment for all types of eating disorders. The process starts with a complete eating disorder assessment. Then we’ll create a plan for your path to recovery.  No matter your age. No matter your gender. We’re here to help.

Anorexia Nervosa

Prolonged and extreme food restriction and malnourishment that causes dramatic and sustained weight loss. This often presents with a genuine fear of gaining weight and other body image issues.

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Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)

A feeding or eating disorder that is characterized by fear, a lack of interest in food, or an avoidance of certain foods that results in persistent failure to meet adequate nutritional needs.

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Binge Eating Disorder

Excessive and uncontrolled consumption of food or a particular food without the regular use of compensatory measures to counter the binge eating; often present with a pattern of “yo-yo dieting.”

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Bulimia Nervosa

Food is consumed but then expelled by self-induced vomiting, laxatives, or other methods. This is often present with a genuine fear of gaining weight and other body image issues

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Compulsive Overeating

Excessive and uncontrollable consumption of a variety of foods or one food in particular, often to the point of feeling unwell. Typically, there are no purging behaviors that follow consumption.

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Eating Disorder/Substance Use Disorder

Eating disorders often occur alongside struggles with alcohol and drugs. If left untreated, these disorders can cause significant ongoing problems and prevent you from recovering fully. We believe that simultaneously treating both disorders in a dual diagnosis is the most effective approach for a lifetime of recovery.

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Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorders (OSFED)

A feeding or eating disorder that causes significant distress or impairment, but does not meet the criteria for another feeding or eating disorder.

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Related Mental Health Issues

Eating disorders often present with a second disorder, including substance use disorder, anxiety, trauma or depression, to name a few. We believe that simultaneously treating both disorders in a dual diagnosis is the most effective approach for a lifetime of recovery.

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Start The Journey To Recovery Today

Start The Journey To Recovery Today

If you or your loved one is struggling with food, schedule an eating disorder assessment today or contact us now at 1-888-364-5977 to receive more information. Let’s start the journey to recovery together.

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