Compulsive Overeating, Binge Eating and Substance Abuse


Compulsive overeating and binge eating are eating disorders involving uncontrollable impulses to eat or obsession with food. Often, individuals struggling with compulsive overeating and/or binge eating have mental symptoms such as low self-esteem, anxiety, or depression. Binge eaters and compulsive overeaters are likely to suffer from coexisting drug addiction or alcohol addiction and are recommended to seek treatment for both disorders concurrently.

You can break the bondage of eating disorders. If you also abuse drugs and alcohol you may have a dual diagnosis. Getting the right dual diagnosis addiction atment is important to address your underlying issues. Call Recovery Connection now at 800-993-3869 and speak with a coordinator today. Help is available, but you have to call.

What is Compulsive Overeating?

Compulsive overeaters have trouble controlling the impulse to eat and trouble stopping eating. Overeating can be an attempt to cope with emotional or psychological issues. High stress, poor self-image, physical trauma, or psychological trauma all can trigger compulsive overeating. Unfortunately, compulsive overeating only worsens a negative self-image and can cause a cyclical pattern of overeating, negative feelings, overeating to feel better, and feeling ashamed to emerge. Trapped in this cycle, life starts to feel unmanageable, a diagnostic hallmark of addiction.

Compulsive Overeating and Substance Abuse

A compulsive overeater may also have an alcohol or drug addiction. According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA), people with eating disorders are 5 times more likely to also abuse drugs and alcohol. Also, addicts are 11 times more likely to have an eating disorder.

In addition to having common brain chemistry changes, compulsive overeaters are often affected by social and psychological factors such as:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Low self-esteem
  • History of sexual, physical, or emotional abuse or trauma
  • Unstable or dysfunctional families
  • Low self-worth
  • Lack of coping skills

Compulsive Overeating Symptoms and Signs

Do you have a compulsive overeating problem? Honestly ask yourself if the following statements sound familiar:

  • I eat uncontrollably.
  • I eat even if I'm not hungry.
  • I fantasize about food.
  • I am ashamed of my body shape and size.
  • I hide food.
  • I sometimes steal food.
  • I eat in secret.
  • I have tried, but failed to control my eating.
  • I feel guilty or shameful after eating.

If you are struggling with any of these signs and symptoms, you might have a compulsive overeating disorder. Speak with a doctor or nutritional expert about your concerns.

What is Binge Eating?

Binge eating is an eating disorder that is similar to other eating disorders as it involves feelings of self worth, control, and food. Binge eating is defined by out-of-control overeating. Unlike individuals with bulimia, binge eaters do not use laxatives or purge after overindulging. Binge eaters may show signs of weight gain, or may not gain weight, depending upon the pattern of binging. 

Like individuals with other eating disorders, binge eaters have unhealthy eating habits. Typically, the misuse of food as a nurturing tool in early childhood can lead to binge eating. Frequently, a binge eater will eat when under stress or feeling strong emotions such as pain, anger, or fear as a means of soothing these feelings. Unfortunately, binge eating usually leaves the sufferer feeling ashamed and out-of-control.

Binge Eating Symptoms and Signs

Binge eating affects both males and females. It is often characterized by one or more of the following:

  • Binge eating more than twice a week
  • Feeling disgusted, embarrassed, or guilty after binge eating
  • Overeating even when you are not hungry
  • Eating too much very quickly

Consequences of Compulsive Overeating and Binge Eating

Compulsive overeating, and binge eating can cause serious long term damage to an individual’s physical, psychological, and emotional health. Physical effects include obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, chronic pain, and dental problems. Examples of emotional and psychological consequences are depression, drug addiction, alcohol addiction, anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, feeling isolated, or feeling worthless.

Compulsive Overeating, Binge Eating and Substance Abuse Treatment

Without addiction treatment, the complications of compulsive overeating and/or binge eating coupled with substance abuse can grow until they become unmanageable. A structured drug rehab that encompass both treatment for substance abuse, compulsive overeating and binge eating issues, can help individuals break free of the cycle of addiction and build a solid foundation for recovery. A quality treatment program will determine the underlying causes of the overeating or addiction as part of an individual’s foundation for recovery.

A combination of research-based best practices that include counseling, cognitive based therapy, medication management, and aftercare is the most effective way to combat addiction.


Looking For Treatment?
For assistance with compulsive overeating, food addiction, and substance abuse call Recovery Connection at 800-993-3869 now. Food addiction treatment works. Help is available.
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