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Compulsive overeating: how to deal with uncontrolled RPP - 5 steps

Among mental disorders, a special place is occupied by eating disorders. Many people know about the dangers of diseases such as bulimia and anorexia, but experts rarely talk about compulsive overeating. However, this type of disorder is quite common in both women and men of different ages.

What is compulsive overeating? This term refers to the excessive consumption of food, which is popularly called gluttony. But the reason for this behavior is not the lack of willpower, natural laziness or human temperament. Overeating is based on psychological factors. That is why a problem can be dealt with only with the help of an experienced psychotherapist specializing in the correction of eating behavior.

Features of the disease

In the life of every person there were times when he ate more food than necessary. The result of such overeating: heaviness and discomfort in the abdomen. But such situations are extremely rare, and, as a rule, during moments of festive feasts. In a person with a psychological disorder, the process of eating does not end almost never. With compulsive overeating, the patient may at some point go on a diet, but this only leads to another breakdown and even more gluttony.

The main difference between this type of eating disorder and bulimia is that a person does not try to get rid of what was eaten artificially (causing vomiting), although his shame torments him quite strongly. However, the amount of food eaten at one meal should be really large. The fact is that often people suffering from eating disorders believe that they eat a lot, but the amount of food they eat does not exceed the norm. In this case, we can talk about other types of pathology.

Others can not always understand that a person who is nearby has an eating disorder. The patient eats a lot only when he is alone, he can store food for the future, then to indulge in gluttony.

Often the body weight of a person suffering from compulsive overeating is normal. The first signs of obesity appear after some time, after the onset of the disease.

You can judge the presence of psychological problems by the following symptoms:

  • food is absorbed in quantities significantly exceeding the norm (the amount of food sufficient to satisfy the hunger of an average adult),
  • the time between meals is short - it rarely reaches 2 hours,
  • a person eats eagerly and very quickly, from the outside it may seem that he is experiencing severe hunger,
  • the patient does not eat because he is hungry. Often the reason for the next meal is stress, a feeling of loneliness, or another emotional reason,
  • with compulsive overeating, a person realizes that he is not able to control his appetite and stop,
  • the process of food absorption often stops only when there is pain in the stomach,
  • after another attack of gluttony, a person experiences a feeling of guilt. He is so upset and unhappy that he can become depressed, which leads to a new episode of overeating.

If the symptoms described above are present for a sufficiently long time, at least 3 months, then this may indicate the presence of serious eating disorders. To cope with this problem on your own with the help of diets does not work - to achieve sustainable results, you must undergo a course of special psychotherapy.

Causes of Compulsive Overeating

No one can name the exact cause of the development of eating disorders. Today, there is an opinion that the disorder occurs as a response of the body to a stressful situation. The following factors can give an impetus to the beginning of psychogenic overeating:

  1. Uncontrolled hunger can be caused by disturbances in the hypothalamus. This part of the brain is responsible for the feeling of fullness - when it stops sending signals, a person experiences constant hunger. Among other biological causes of overeating, experts call a decrease in serotonin levels.
  2. Often, the causes of overeating are the characteristics of the cultural and social environment. From birth, the child gets used to the idea that food can serve as a reward. Or, norms accepted in society can lead to the development of nervous disorders in people who do not correspond to them. The compulsive eater feels its failure, and against this background, he develops a secondary depression, leading to another binge attack.
  3. Overeating can have psychological reasons. The relationship of uncontrolled food intake and depression has been identified by researchers for a long time. People with low self-esteem, suffering from loneliness and misunderstanding, are prone to gluttony.

In addition, it was noted that the tendency to psychogenic overeating can be hereditary.

What threatens psychogenic overeating

Perhaps some people think that gluttony is not the worst of psychological disorders. But the problems with excess weight that arise as a result of eating a huge amount of various foods is the most harmless consequence of this pathology. A sick person is more often than others in a state of depression, he is constantly tormented by a sense of anxiety, anxiety and fears. In some cases, people resort to alcohol or drugs in an attempt to cope with gluttony, but this only exacerbates the situation.

Against the background of obesity, physical health problems can also develop. Most often, obese people suffer from diabetes mellitus, they have several times higher risk of cancer, heart rhythm is disturbed and hypertension develops. Other problems include joint diseases, snoring, thyroid pathology, various diseases of the digestive system and intestines.

Recognition of overeating caused by psychogenic causes

Diagnosis, as well as the treatment of this type of eating disorder, requires the participation of several specialists. The examination is carried out both in psychological and in somatic profile. Doctors will conduct a general examination of the patient and examine his entire history. Predisposing factors are identified, such as stress, hormonal imbalances, psychogenic disorders, and a period of prolonged fasting (voluntary or forced).

Instrumental research is also needed. In the laboratory, the cholesterol level, blood sugar are being clarified, the secretion of the stomach is examined. Using special equipment, the stomach, intestines and other organs involved in the digestion process are examined.

The diagnosis will be made in the presence of persistent symptoms of overeating and the exclusion of other types of diseases that can lead to loss of appetite control.

If the patient was diagnosed with psychogenic overeating, then medication is unlikely to help. Some medications may be prescribed to relieve symptoms or treat concomitant diseases, but various methods of psychocorrection must be used to eliminate the underlying problem.

The treatment for such a psychological disorder is quite lengthy. Some patients achieved success in a year of working with a psychotherapist; others needed more time.

The main task of specialists treating compulsive overeating is to convey to the patient the idea that food can become an assistant in the process of getting rid of pathology. To solve the problem, you do not need to completely refuse food. You should learn to control the daily diet, it should be based on nutritious and healthy foods.

Among the methods of psychotherapy in the treatment of eating disorders, the most effective are cognitive and behavioral psychotherapy, as well as suggestion and hypnosis. However, this should be done by an experienced doctor specializing in the treatment of psychogenic overeating, since this type of disorder is often unnoticed by doctors of other specializations.

Often people suffering from compulsive overeating are offered to perform an operation to reduce the stomach. But in the case when the gluttony is caused by psychological reasons, the effect of the resection will be minimal, since the patient is not able to control seizures.

How to deal with the problem yourself

If the disorder is in the initial stages of development, you can try to overcome it yourself. This will be the first step towards recovery. When disturbing symptoms appear:

  • will ask for help. This is not a visit to a therapist. Tell your loved one about your problem. In some cases, pronouncing the problem allows you to find ways out of it. In addition, the support of loved ones instills in us strength and confidence in success, eliminates the feeling of insecurity and loneliness,
  • do not brand yourself. The negative labels that sick people hang on themselves interfere with recovery. Even if you eat too much food, you do not become bad. Overeating is not a crime, but a disease requiring treatment,
  • you don’t need to divide all foods into good or bad. It is important to understand that everything is possible, but in small quantities. If you adhere to this rule, you can afford a little french fries or a slice of cream cake,
  • try to pause while eating. Break off and evaluate your feelings. If a person uses food as a sedative, then he can skip the saturation signal sent from the brain,
  • change habits or environment. What surrounds us has a great influence on our lifestyle and food culture. The compulsive eater should try to eat with the company as often as possible. Go to a cafe or invite friends to visit,
  • give yourself the right to be weak. Many people who are overweight and overweight make a list of prohibited foods. This is not worth doing, because it is unlikely to cope with the temptation. And after some time of abstinence, you will again indulge in gluttony. If you want something, then eat it now, but just a little. In this case, there will be no guilt, which is the key to the trigger of compulsive overeating,
  • a person suffering from this psychogenic disorder can have only one ban - on diets. Restrictions on nutrition must be forgotten once and for all, since they lead only to additional stress. It would be more correct to make a balanced diet. If you can’t do it yourself, you can turn to a nutritionist for help.

These methods of getting rid of eating disorders are quite effective. But only in rare cases, sick people can cope with bouts of gluttony on their own. In severe forms of the disorder, the help of specialists is simply necessary. Only with a combination of psychotherapy and self-control can sustainable results be achieved.

What does rpp mean

Before discussing just compulsive overeating, we would like to talk about eating disorders. An eating disorder (RPD) is a mental illness that adversely affects a person’s physical and mental health, which is characterized by abnormal food intake.

And the most necessary that it is important to understand and accept: rpp is a disease! Moreover, these problems are not always associated with excess weight. People often ask what rpp in weight loss is, because it is against the background of the diet that more breakdowns occur, but this does not mean that only people with extra kilos are affected by this problem.

The practice of psychotherapy shows that people suffering from eating disorders tend to exorbitantly raise social standards in relation to themselves. In such circumstances, people who are prone to stick to a diet easily lose control of their emotions. This is followed by a cognitive reaction of the “all or nothing” type.

Eating disorders are of several types. So, the main types of RPP:


bulimia - excessive food intake, followed by the stage of cleansing the stomach or taking laxatives,

systematic overeating,

nervous orthorexia - an eating disorder characterized by an obsessive desire for a “healthy and proper” diet, which leads to significant restrictions on the choice of products,

compulsive (psychogenic) overeating,

picacism - eating inedible substances,

merismism - chewing arbitrary belch food some time after eating.

Scientists conclude that it is biological and social factors that act as the causes of such disorders.

Compulsive overeating

Let's agree that we will also use “zhazh” and “rpp” along with the term “obsessively compulsive overeating”. But let's finally define what we mean by that.

A jam is not when you overeat at the festive table. A choke is when you sweep everything out of the refrigerator. You literally lose control of yourself and simply cannot stop.

What are the signs of an eating disorder?

Zagory not only harm the figure, they harm the health - physical and moral. Physical health - because an organism accustomed to a balanced diet is horrified by this frantic amount of fats / carbohydrates / salt. And moral health, too - after compulsive eating, a person feels miserable, worthless and fat.

Often people eat not because they are hungry, but for other, hidden reasons. For example, before and after work, when you need to gather your thoughts, when you are excited, when you are angry and keep yourself, when you don’t have enough impressions, when there are too many of them, in the company of new people, when I feel powerless before a mountain of things, when bored etc. etc.

A similar body reaction is called compulsive overeating. This is a regularly repeated pattern (a program embedded in the human brain) of eating food, in which a person systematically overeats, but does not get pleasure from it. This eating habit develops over the years.

There are some of the most common causes of RPP and how to deal with them.

Symptoms and causes of compulsive overeating are simple.. One of the factors of its development is pleasurethat we get from food. This is one of the easiest and most achievable ways to improve your well-being, raise your spirits and add strength that is available to a person at almost any moment.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with pleasure itself. Everyone loves a delicious meal, there is nothing shameful about it. A problem arises when a person subconsciously tries to escape from his life problems with the pleasure of eating.

It is interesting that, as a result, these problems themselves do not bother a person as much as the negative emotions associated with these problems. We are talking about a fear of a problem, a feeling of weakness and, finally, a desire to hide from our problem.

The psychology of compulsive nutrition is as follows: a person experiencing regular emotional discomfort begins subconsciously look for sources of pleasurethat can distract him from problems and let him close their eyes to them, at least for a short while.

Sources of pleasure can be many other things, however, eating is a vital necessity, so food abuse is most common, because a person has to eat one way or another.

First of all, you need to understand that not life problems themselves are a source of compulsive overeating. The source is how does a person treat them. This is the key to healing.

Getting rid of eating habits consists in breaking the connection “Life Challenges> Overeating". Conventionally, it can be divided into a chain of the following form: “Problem> Stress> Unconscious desire to have fun, to drown out stress> Overeating in order to enjoy> Feeling of guilt and shame> Overeating."

At the stage of the emergence of feelings of shame and guilt from the very fact of overeating, the chain becomes cyclical - a person often overeats after experiencing shame. Actually, this cyclicity makes overeating compulsive, i.e. regularly repeated and not bringing pleasure to a person.

We also see that life's problems are a kind of trigger that activates risk factors for the emergence of the pattern of compulsive overeating.

Reason # 2: malnutrition in the presence of a difficult relationship with food. Всегда очень грустно смотреть на девочек, которые сначала голосят “Я сегодня на жестком пп и 1000 ккал”, а через несколько дней превращаются в “Я сегодня обожралась, мне так плохо, завтра снова на пп”.

Организму нужна еда для многих замечательных вещей вроде дыхания или движения. Еда нужна для здоровых волос, крепких ногтей и упругой задницы. Конечно, бедняга-мозг, не получая нужного количества питательных веществ, в срочном порядке посылает сигналы голода и до определенного момента вы можете их блокировать.

But in the future you will find this vicious circle of diet-stall-diet-stall.

But how to get rid of compulsive overeating?

What to do: treatment

So how do you get rid of RPP? What is an independent treatment of eating disorders and how to cope with a glutton, if you have no strength at all:

The first thing to understand is that we simply cannot rid ourselves of all the stress factors that surround us, it is impossible.

Stress in itself is a complex psychological problem, and it is based on a huge number of more basic problems: dissatisfaction with life, inability to control one’s emotions, limited worldview, silly beliefs, polarized perception of the world (division into good / bad, sad / funny, kind / evil and so on.), psychological trauma, stretching from the past, unconscious behavior, the habit of moving away from reality into the world of one’s fantasies, and many, many others.

Need to change your attitude towards stress.. Next is an excerpt from the book “Wake up a giant in yourself”.

Imagine your life as a garden, beautiful, large and beautiful. There are many wonderful, exotic flowers in it, every now and then songs of birds are heard and even there is a small fountain.

But despite the fact that the garden is so good, weeds appear in it from time to time. We think you understand that weeds are the stress that accompanies us. Essentially, life is based on balance. If we allow ourselves to turn into those who refuse to notice weeds taking root in our garden, then this our delusion will cost us dearly.

However, the opposite phenomenon is no less destructive - when people constantly paint in their imagination their garden overgrown and completely drowned by indestructible weeds. The path must be based on balance. Look at the weeds with a smile, knowing that you can’t do without them in the garden, but mark the place of their growth and immediately begin to act - tear them out without pity and fear.

Is the gardener afraid to uproot the weeds? Does he cry from the need for this work? Does he feel himself not strong enough and capable of this? Is he to blame for the fact that they appeared? Of course not.

We should not experience negative emotions with weeds: they form part of our lives. We must notice them, remove them, immediately take some action to limit their impact on our lives. The fact that we pretend that they do not exist will not make us feel better, as well as excessive indignation / fear due to their presence.

They will still appear in your garden as its integral part - and an integral part of our life. Just eliminate them. And do it in a state of emotional recovery - fun or joking - otherwise you will spend the rest of your life in a state of constant mental discomfort, as I can assure you, there will always be weeds.

And until you want to live normally reacting to every problem that arises, you will have to remind yourself that they form an important part of your life. They support you in strength, a strong protest, make you be vigilant, notice in time what needs to be done to keep the garden of your life healthy and fruitful.

The hardest and most important thing is to learn seize the momentwhen your mind is "clouded" and you are ready to lose control.

Make a list of common situations in which you are attracted to food and in which you overeat. You may find stress factors that can be addressed right away.

Of course, basically there will be those that need to be worked on. For example, if every time after meeting with relatives you experience uncomfortable feelings that you are tempted to eat quickly - time to think about how you can improve the situation. There are splinters that need to be removed, not endured.

Do it not from the position “I have to do it because I want to lose weight”, but from the position - “I want to feel good”, do not set yourself harsh conditions, try to do it gently and with compassion for yourself.

Of course, at the very beginning, these methods will either fly out of your head or resistance will form inside you and you will be unbearably attracted to follow the beaten path straight to unpleasant consequences. Do not be discouraged or give up treatment. Everything will work out.

Make a list of what you can do when you get the urge to eat (only if it is not hunger). Think in what condition you are comfortable in.

At the same time - it should be: safe, accessible, pleasant, simple - not require special conditions, have a logical ending (when something has a limit and it depends on you - it calms). It is advisable that you have the opportunity to extend this condition.

For example, you decide to take a walk from home to a stop, but still do not feel better - you can go further. They embroidered the planned part of the drawing, but inside it has not yet settled down - take hold of another, dismantled one box with things - so there are others, etc.

Each person has such an occupation in which he feels as if “on his field”, under protection. Great internal strength of will and freedom is possessed by those who have several such fields.

It can even be simple routine actions that give peace: a hot shower, cleaning, meditationpuzzles, reading, walking, exercise, hugs with a cat, etc.

You can sort things out in cabinets, scrub a bath, clean dishes to shine, cook, sort out cereals, knit, embroider, put puzzles, make manicures, look out the window, listen to music. At work, you can also find activities that reduce the intensity of desires - to put things in order on the desktop, sort mail, move your toes, etc.

How to overcome compulsive overeating? Start practicing new ways to relax before you even get the urge to eat / flour / sweet / cigarette / glass, etc., to deal with uncomfortable experiences.

Try to do these things when you feel good and comfortable, when you are calm, relaxed, in a good mood and you have the strength. Gradually in your brain nice associationsrelated to your personal ways to relax.

Indeed, in a state of stress, you simply do not have enough energy to come up with a way to distract. Energy is enough only to make something familiar and familiar, which ALREADY “helped”. What can be reached with a minimum of effort, so it’s better to come up with workarounds in advance.

When you’re used to using these methods in a relaxed atmosphere, start using them in small and relatively uncomfortable situations. So you make sure that you can respond to discomfort (albeit small) not only with food.

You will make sure you can. You will build up your strength to respond to discomfort in other ways and build confidence in your ability. After a while, you will begin to feel the strength in yourself to respond NOT with food and to more complex situations. That is, again - from simple to complex, reminding yourself that you are learning. So the process will go much smoother, softer and calmer. Without unnecessary stress and pressure.

What you should not do in case of an eating disorder

Do not weigh yourself in the morning after eating. No need to add stress to yourself with this meaningless action - you will not see anything special there. Yes, you will gain weight: but to a greater extent it will be edema and glycogen .

Do not wear what gives you discomfort. Dress so that you are comfortable. What could be better than putting on the tight-fitting T-shirt and jeans after overeating? Like, it will be dumb, as if you will not break * sarcasm *.

You should be comfortable in your clothes, so it makes sense to put on a sweater and pants wider. Yes, the day after compulsive overeating will not be the most joyful day of your life, but it will pass!

Don't scold yourself. Constant criticism and abuse does not work with itself, but only exacerbate the situation, understand this once and for all.

We could, of course, write “it’s better not to look for ways to cope with the consequences of eating, and not to overeat - there is enough during the day and not go on a strict diet,” but what's the point if this does not work? In theory, this is true, but in practice, eating is the same eating disorder that is not so easy to get rid of.

How to stop breaking down?

Breathe. Seriously. Studies show that regular use of slow breathing techniques increases stress resistance and increases volitional reserve. In one study, a daily 20-minute slow breathing exercise reduced depression and impulsivity in people with post-traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism.

It takes only one or two minutes of slowed breathing to increase the volitional reserve, which is quite accessible with any volitional test.

So slow your breathing down to 4-6 breaths per minute. Each breath takes 10 to 15 seconds: it is slower than usual, but not difficult. Slowing your breathing, you activate the prefrontal cortex, which helps to transfer the brain and body from stress to self-control. After a few minutes, peace will come to you, you will master yourself and be able to cope with promptings or temptations.

It’s a good idea to slow down your breath while you stare at the cake. First, note how many breaths per minute you take in a calm state. Then start to slow down your breath without holding it (this will only increase stress).

Most people find it much easier to slow their breathing as you exhale, so focus and exhale slowly until the end (fold your lips in a tube and imagine that you are exhaling through a straw). A full exhale will help you breathe deeper effortlessly.