Recovering From Compulsive Overeating

Here's what's happening on the HealthyPlace site this week:

Compulsive Overeating, It's Compulsive!

And that's the big problem. Like any other compulsion - gambling, sex, shopping, the internet - for some 4 million people in the U.S., eating is hard to stop. (are you an overeater checklist)

Many try to lose weight on their own or with commercial products or through various weight loss programs. Over time, their weight yo-yos up and down, but in the end a vast majority of compulsive overeaters succumb to their food addiction.

Some researchers attribute the problem of compulsive overeating to depression and using food to fill some emotional needs.

Former FDA Commissioner, Dr. David Kessler has another theory. His theory: "Hyperpalatable" foods -- those loaded with fat, sugar, and salt -- stimulate the senses and provide a reward that leads many people to eat more to repeat the experience. In a WebMD interview, Kessler says "Once the food becomes a habit, it may not offer the same satisfaction. We look for foods higher in fat and sugar to bring back the thrill."

No matter what the cause, the fact remains that lots of people have problems with this compulsion. So what's the From Food Addiction, Food Cravings" href="index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1685:food-addiction-food-cravings&catid=121&Itemid=58" target="_blank">solution to compulsive overeating? Therapy to help one keep track of their eating, change their eating habits, and learn how to deal with emotional difficulties in a more productive way is one solution. Antidepressants may also prove helpful.

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Dr. Kessler suggests:

  • Structure your eating -- knowing when and how you're going to eat.
  • Set rules, such as not eating between meals.
  • Change the way you think about food. Be aware of your thinking "about how good the food will make you feel" and take steps to protect yourself.
  • Learn to enjoy the foods you can control.
  • Rehearse how you'll respond to cues that set you up to overeat.

For those who have difficulty with all of the above, there's hope in research. The pharma companies are spending lots of money trying to find a solution in a bottle. They all have lots of incentive -- more than 4 million people who might be willing to pay for that solution.

Share Your Mental Health Experiences

Share your experiences with compulsive overeating or any mental health subject, or respond to other people's audio posts, by calling our toll-free number (1-888-883-8045).

You can listen to what other people are saying by clicking on the gray title bars inside the widgets located on the "Sharing Your Mental Health Experiences" homepage, the HealthyPlace homepage, and the HealthyPlace Support Network homepage.

If you have any questions, write us at: info AT

"Recovering From Compulsive Overeating" On HealthyPlace TV

Josie's overeating problems started at age 9. By 17, the college girls taught her "literally everything" about how to lose weight and she tried them all -- with little success. Later, as an adult, she found one thing that really worked. Her story and helpful suggestions for overcoming overeating on Tuesday's HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show.

Join us Tuesday, December 1, at 5:30p PT, 7:30 CST, 8:30 EST. The show airs live on our website. Josie will be taking your questions during the live show.

In the second half of the show, you get to ask Medical Director, Dr. Harry Croft, your personal mental health questions.

Coming in December on the HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show

  • OCD: Scrupulosity

If you would like to be a guest on the show or share you personal story in writing or via video, please write us at: producer AT

Click here for a list of previous HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Shows.

Mental Illness in the Family Show Rescheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 1

As happens sometimes, last week's guest had some technical issues so we are doing a special early edition tonight (Tuesday) at 5:30p CT, 6:30 ET -- BEFORE our regularly scheduled show. It's an important subject and we hope you'll join us. The blog post with more info is here.

back to: Mental-Health Newsletter Index

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2009, December 1). Recovering From Compulsive Overeating, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 22 from

Last Updated: September 5, 2014

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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