Compulsive overeating: How to diagnose and treat?

Do you eat when you don’t feel hungry?

Compulsive overeating: How to diagnose and treat?
Written by Our: Morning Runner
Medical Fact Checked by: Dr. Bryan Havoc
Last updated:

Compulsive overeating is an eating disorder characterized by excessive food consumption. Eating as an action becomes the most important, as it relieves tension.

That means compulsive overeating has nothing to do with satisfying hunger. Frequently those who suffer from this disorder have low contact with their emotions, they are not able to recognize and express them and they didn’t learn how to recognize signals given by their bodies.

Check if you have that problem:

  • do you eat when you don’t feel hungry?
  • do you feel bad after finishing the meal?
  • can’t you wait for the moment of solitude when you will be able to overfeed yourself with impunity?
  • do you limit your portions when you’re with someone and then eat more when you’re alone?
  • do you eat to run away from worries and troubles?
  • does thinking about your way of eating makes you unhappy?

If you recognized your behaviours in questions above - it’s time for action. 
    Compulsive overeating is connected with experiencing stress and inability to express emotions safely.

    That’s why learning of assertiveness, founding a way for expressing emotions, setting boundaries and telling directly about your own needs are so important.

    One of the helpful “tools” which Maria Król-Fijewska shows in her book is FEE - Facts, Emotions, Expectations. You feel stressed. Situation you’re in right now is not what you’ve wanted. This time instead of bottling anger up and then expressing it by eating, you can tell about:

    Facts - define how situation looks like, objectively, without interpretation - imagine yourself as a lawyer and describe reality impartially, for example: when you set a meeting with me out of home, you’re late.
    Emotions - tell how this situation impacts you, what do you feel, for example: it makes me angry and sad at the same time.
    Expectations - define what you would like to happen, for example: I would like you to be on time.

    Remember that feelings expressed directly will reduce stress and divert your attention from replacement behaviours, such as eating. What’s more they will help others get to know you better!

    *This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.