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Saturday, December 24, 2011

What is compulsive eating and how to cure it

    Eating disorders refer to a group of conditions defined by abnormal eating habits that may involve either insufficient or excessive food intake to the detriment of an individual's physical and mental health. Bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa and binge eating disorders are the most common specific forms in the United States. Though primarily thought of as affecting females (an estimated 5–10 million being affected in the U.S.), eating disorders affect males as well (an estimated 1 million U.S. males being affected). Although eating disorders are increasing all over the world among both men and women, there is evidence to suggest that it is women in the Western world who are at the highest risk of developing them and the degree of westernization increases the risk.

    compulsive eating also sometimes called food addiction, is characterized by an obsessive/compulsive relationship to food. Professionals address this with either a behavior-modification model or a food-addiction model. An individual suffering from compulsive overeating disorder engages in frequent episodes of uncontrolled eating or binge eating during which they may feel frenzied or out of control, often consuming food past the point of being comfortably full. Binging in this way is generally followed by feelings of guilt and depression. Unlike individuals with bulimia, compulsive overeaters do not attempt to compensate for their binging with purging behaviors such as fasting, laxative use or vomiting. Compulsive overeaters will typically eat when they are not hungry. Their obsession is demonstrated in that they spend excessive amounts of time and thought devoted to food, and secretly plan or fantasize about eating alone.

    People who are affected by this symptom should come to terms with how to stop binge eating in order to improve their physical and mental health. Compulsive overeating is treatable with counseling and therapy. Approximately 80% of sufferers who seek professional help recover completely or experience significant reduction in their symptoms. According to Dr. Gregg Jantz of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources in Edmonds, WA; less than 2% of morbidly obese clients ever recover. Many eating disorders are thought to be behavioral patterns stemming from emotional struggles that need to be resolved in order for the sufferer to develop lasting results and a healthy relationship with food. Compulsive overeating is a serious problem and can result in death. However, with treatment, which should include talk therapy, medical and nutritional counseling, it can be overcome. Several twelve step programs designed to help members recover from compulsive overeating and food addiction exist today.

    At this point you must be asking how to stop binge eating? Well, one can follow the following tips to free yourself from the negative eating habits the person has acquired.

    1.) Rather than trying to diet to lose weight, try to slowly improve your eating habits. Instead of eating 5 junk foods a day, try eating 4 for the next 7 days. Once you have done that successfully then trying eating 3 junk foods for the next 7 days etc. Keep on reducing it till you have reached 1.

    2.) Do not deprive yourself of foods you crave. Otherwise you will keep increasing your craving for that food. Take everything in controlled moderation. Control the portion size.

    3.) There are no quick weight loss fixes. It takes time and a lot of dedication and you can achieve your goal slowly over a period of time.

    4.) There will be days where you are too weak to say no, and will binge eat. Rather forgive yourself, and move on. If you let feelings of guilt and disappointment creep in, you probably will feel overwhelmed, give up, and binge eat some more.

    Treatment varies according to type and severity of eating disorder, and usually more than one treatment option is utilized. However, it should be noted that there is lack of good evidence about treatment and management, which means that current views about treatment are based mainly on clinical experience. Therefore, it should be noted that before treatment takes place, family doctors will play an important role in early treatment as patients suffering from eating disorders will be reluctant to see a psychiatrist and a lot will depend on trying to establish a good relationship with the patient and family in primary care.