Eating disorders are often signs of other underlying issues such as mental health disturbances, developmental issues, or other physical illness. Without treatment, these disorders can be dangerous.
About Overeating Disorders
Normal eating habits include the ingestion of food in a mixed and balanced way that promotes good health and supplies the necessary nutrients and calories that are needed to maintain the body’s needs. Behaviors or relationships with food which are obsessive, socially unacceptable, irregular, or chaotic negatively impact a person physically, psychologically, and socially.
When a person is unable to stop eating or control their eating and continuous practices these habits, they risk serious physical harm which is compounded by the psychological issues that exist or develop because of these behaviors. It is not uncommon for an individual with one eating disorder to switch to another disorder such as an overeater developing bulimia nervosa (binge eating followed by purging behaviors). The issues go far beyond the unhealthy relationship with food and left untreated can possibly, be fatal.
Physical Symptoms of Overeating Disorder
Physical symptoms of overeating disorder can lead to serious illness and dangerous health problems and include:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
- Gallbladder Disease
- Heart Disease
- Kidney problems or failure
- Pregnancy Complications
- Certain Types of Cancer
Psychological Symptoms of Overeating Disorder
Mental health and overeating disorders go hand in hand and it isn’t uncommon for a person suffering from overeating disorder to:
- Isolate themselves for fear of disapproval because of their uncontrollable overeating habits and embarrassing relationship with food.
- Feel disgust, guilt, and shame with their overeating or physical appearance.
- Have extreme anxiety or depression and turn to food for comfort only to exacerbate the problems.
- Have low self esteem, or be overly sensitive regarding weight or appearance.
- Be suicidal or indulge in harmful behaviors towards themselves.
- Have other mental health disturbances or substance abuse problems.
Finding Help for the Symptoms of Overeating Disorder
There are many helpful treatments involving adequate nutrition, psychotherapy options, and counseling which can be effective. Some involve inpatient stays that may be appropriate for those suffering serious psychological health issues and medications such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication may be helpful. It is important to find help for the symptoms of overeating disorder before it is too late. For help:
- Contact a physician or local hospital for referrals
- Contact treatment centers specializing in eating disorders
Other helpful resources include:
- Eating Disorders Coalition for Research, Policy & Action (EDC) http://www.eatingdisorderscoalition.org/
- Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous http://www.foodaddicts.org/
- National Alliance On Mental Illnesses www.nami.org
- National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): http://nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/eating-disorders/index.shtml