Many professionals call compulsive overeating a food addiction. Individuals that engage in this behavior generally have a very difficult time controlling the amount of food that they consume. This means that the individual will engage in binging behaviors in which they tend to feel out of control and they are not able to regulate the amount of food that they are in-taking. These individuals will often pass the point of feeling comfortable. Actually, he or she may eat to the point that they feel sick.
The individual that is dealing with compulsive overeating will generally extend their behavior past the binge eating. This means that the person will often graze throughout the day. Picking at and consuming small amounts of food throughout the day characterise this grazing behavior. This is done in between each of the binging episodes.
There is a difference between compulsive overeating and bulimia nervosa that individuals need to be aware of. Individuals that engage in binge eating and are suffering from bulimia will engage in activities that will help their body to get rid of the food that they have recently consumed. However, individuals that are dealing with compulsive overeating will not engage in these behaviors. They do not seem to be concerned with the amount of calories that they are consuming or the way that their body looks. Actually, these individuals will usually fantasize about food and they spend a great deal of time planning their meals and thinking about what they are going to eat.
It is believed by many that compulsive overeating is actually an addiction. Many individuals believe that when the compulsive overeater consumes certain trigger foods, serotonin is released into the brain. This causes the individual to crave the food and want to consume more of the food. Actually, some people believe that the absence of the trigger foods may also increase withdrawal symptoms and cause the individual to experience depression and anxiety because he or she does not have the amount of serotonin that their body requires in order to "feel good".
Some of the signs of compulsive overeating that parents can watch for include depression or mood swings, eating alone due to shame, eating very fast, or even withdrawing from eating with others but still experiencing a high weight. Many children that are suffering from this may also have a low self-esteem and they feel the need to eat more and more. This can be very difficult for the parent that wants their child to stop overeating because the child really does have a difficult time decreasing the amount of food that they consume. Many children will also begin to withdraw from activities that they once enjoyed and they may also have a history of failed diets.
Parents that observe this type of behavior with their child will want to begin talking to their child about this issue. It can result in a lot of difficult issues for the child if it is not taken care of properly. The child may be unable to stop the behavior on its own. Therefore, the parents will need to find the child the appropriate treatment to help with this condition.
In the book "Solving Teenage Problems", several symptoms for binge eating have been discussed. Along with this the book also provides several tips to deal with this problem and how parents can help their teenager to get over this eating disorder.