Rebecca's House | Eating Disorders Treatment Programs

Compulsive Overeating Treatment

Compulsive overeating means eating when one is not physically hungry. Some compulsive overeaters eat when upset or stressed to get through the day. They may “graze” throughout the day as they work. They constantly think about what to eat or not eat, and about their weight. Many people use food to deal with their emotions. After doing this for awhile, they don’t even realize what the feeling of hunger is anymore. People become disconnected from their Self and their emotions, and they use food as a way of numbing out. Many people with compulsive overeating are not aware of the core issues behind their compulsive overeating. Something may happen or a thought may surface that triggers the feeling they have buried. They feel they need to eat or use other numbing substances to not feel these triggered events. Treatment for compulsive overeating can help repair and rebuild healthy eating structure and emotional wellness. Here are some common signs of Compulsive Overeating:

  • Uses food when upset or stressed
  • Preoccupied with thoughts of body, weight, and food
  • Isolates or avoids social situations 
  • Buys snack food in bulk      
  • Think they are “good” if they do not eat when hungry
  • Always eating something throughout the day
  • Eating while driving
  • Eating while on the computer or watching TV
  • Wanting to escape from stressful situations
  • Not taking care of self     
  • Relationship problems 
  • They are unaware of their appetite and body signals
  • Feeling hopeless about work, relationships or life
  • Past traumatic events
  • Codependency

Food Addictions can be the reason for some eating disorders and disordered eating. The use of food can become like a drug of abuse for some people. Food causes chemical changes in the brain.  For some people, there are some substances like sugar and High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) that impacts the reward system of the brain differently than for other people. If a person with this reaction has one bite, the craving process sets in. It is much like an alcoholic having one drink, then having no control over how much they drink after that. These are not the only substances that react this way. We need research to examine other ingredients that are put into processed foods that are a catalyst for obesity and behavioral problems. Here are some common signs of Food Addiction:

  • Have periods when they must have a certain food
  • Eats excessive amounts of binge food
  • Eats several bowls of cereal
  • Eats excessive amounts of breads or pasta
  • Regularly eats fast foods
  • Eats whole bag of chips or cookies
  • Eats excessive ice cream
  • Going to extreme measures to obtain their food of choice
  • May steal or violate their values to obtain food
  • Once they have a bite there must be more
  • Lies about the food to themselves and others
  • Feels numbed, drugged, or high after eating their binge food
  • Experiences detoxification when eliminating the binge food
  • Cannot recover from disordered eating
  • Multiple eating disorder treatment programs failures
  • Relapse on alcohol or drugs

Recovering alcoholics often have addiction tendencies towards sugar. Alcohol is metabolized in the body as sugar. Many newly recovered people become addicted to sweets to compensate from the abstinence of alcohol. Food is also used to push down feelings especially guilt, remorse in early recovery. Weight gain in recovery often leads to relapse. It is also important to recognize many people had disordered eating before the alcohol or substance abuse began. If this sounds like your struggle, please call 1 (800) 711-2062 now for a free assessment and start your recovery. You don’t have to do this alone, we can help.