Eating compulsion is an eating disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating , where large amounts of food are eaten accompanied by a feeling of total loss of control. The person suffering from binge eating experiences shame, anguish or guilt after the binge episode.
Unlike bulimics, those who eat compulsively do not induce vomiting after overeating. People who suffer from binge eating disorder often increase their weight or become clinically obese, becoming liable to contract a wide variety of diseases.
What characterizes binge eating?
Eating large amounts of food in a short period of time, accompanied by a feeling of lack of control during the episode, that you cannot stop or control what you eat. Patients with this disorder can eat even if they are satisfied or not hungry , eating until they feel uncomfortable, with a very full stomach. They often eat alone or in hiding and right after an episode of compulsion, they feel guilty and disgusted with themselves.
What causes and how to treat binge eating?
To arrive at an effective treatment for binge eating, the ideal is to find out if the reason for the binge has to do with an incorrect and unregulated diet. Often people barely eat for breakfast, do not eat what they need throughout the day and at the end of the day the body asks for food. In this case, with the help of a professional, the person learns to eat correctly, with adequate portions at certain times.
In cases where the compulsion is linked to emotional factors, such as depression, therapy or even help from a psychiatrist is required. In the therapy process the patient will learn to identify the emotional factors that lead them to overeat and develop strategies to deal with emotions in an assertive way. Psychiatric medications will only be prescribed after verifying the real need for their use.
Biological abnormalities can contribute to binge eating. For example, the hypothalamus (the part of the brain that controls appetite) may not send over hunger and satiety. A genetic mutation can also cause food addiction . Finally, there is evidence that low levels of serotonin in the brain play a role in compulsive eating. In such cases, further research is needed to address the problem. The use of medication is indicated in this case.