Overeating Disorder

Overeating disorder is one of the most common eating disorders. This article has information on the causes and symptoms of overeating disorder, statistics on overeating disorder, health problems associated with binge eating disorders, and how to help teens with eating disorders.


One of the more depressing types of eating disorders is the overeating disorder. While many of us overeat on occasion, there are those who do it habitually, and have become addicted to eating to the point where binge eating is a way of life. This can be a difficult addiction to break, and it can be painful to deal with.

Overeating disorder is most likely the commonest of eating disorders. Indeed, about four million Americans are afflicted with binge eating disorder. Most people who suffer from this eating disorder are overweight. About 10% to 15% of those who are only mildly obese have overeating disorder. As you might imagine, the percentage of people with binge eating disorder increases with obesity. However, it is worth knowing that even those with a healthy weight can have binge eating disorder. Some of those whose weight is normal, and who exercise regularly also battle with overeating disorder.

Symptoms and causes of overeating disorder

It is important to understand the symptoms and causes of binge eating disorder. First of all, it is a good idea - if you are concerned that you might have the disorder - to consider the possibility. Here are some of the signs that you could have overeating disorder:

  • Continue to eat until you are uncomfortable, even though you have already been satiated.
  • Eating more quickly than usual when suffering a binge episode.
  • Consumer large quantities of food, even when you are not particularly hungry.
  • Deciding to eat alone because you are embarrassed by the large amounts of food you eat.
  • Feeling guilty after overeating. You might also feel depressed or disgusted with yourself after eating too much.

These are signs that you might have a problem, especially if you frequently display these symptoms of overeating disorder. If you are concerned that you might have binge eating disorder, you can learn a little bit about what might cause the disorder.

While there is no concrete cause of overeating disorder, medical professionals have some clues as to why it might develop in someone. Depression may be one of the causes of binge eating. Another possible cause is frequent dieting. Those who diet in an on-and-off manner may be more susceptible to binge eating, although this connection hasn’t been conclusively proven. Another consideration is the attempt to avoid certain food groups altogether as part of a diet. This could encourage binge eating in some areas. Substance abuse, chemical imbalances in the brain and one’s metabolism may also be factors in overeating disorder.

Health problems that arise from binge eating disorder

Any eating disorder comes with health problems. Binge eating disorder has many health problems that are related to obesity. Significant weight gain due to overeating disorder can lead to the following health problems:

  • High blood pressure
  • Hypertension
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Kidney problems
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Heart problems, disease and heart attack
  • Some types of cancer

Additionally, many people who see a great deal of weight gain as a result of binge eating disorder may find that they have diminished energy, as well as a lower sexual drive. And there are some associated mental illness issues, such as depression and social anxiety, that can develop as a result of insecurities brought on by overeating disorder.

Helping someone with overeating disorder

It is important that someone with an overeating disorder be encouraged to seek professional help. Health professionals can help those with binge eating disorder learn to cope with the physical and mental aspects of the issue. There are some treatments that show promise in helping those with overeating disorder:

  • Interpersonal psychotherapy: Helps affected people learn to make changes in context of their relationships with others.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy: Those with binge eating disorder learn techniques to help them keep track of their eating habits, and slowly replace poor habits with good habits.
  • Drug therapy: In some cases, pharmacological solutions can help. This may be necessary in someone who is depressed as a result of overeating disorder.

It is important for those who are close to someone with a binge eating disorder to be supportive. Support groups and therapy sessions can help, but it is also important for an overeater’s friends and family to be available for encouragement and support.

In the end, overeating disorder can be a real problem. It is vital, for your physical and mental health, to seek help. A combination of therapies can be used to suit your needs, and when you overcome your binge eating disorder, you will be healthier and may even be happier.

Related Article: Preventing Overweight Teens >>