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Causes of Compulsive Overeating

Compulsive overeating is a form of disordered eating, which means that a combination of genetics, psychological issues and sociocultural factors generally contribute to the development of this behavior. Because many people struggling with overeating are normal or higher weighted, they often don’t realize their overeating and co-occurring weight issues stem from emotional issues.

The cultural narrative around obesity wrongly suggests that:

  • Laziness is to blame for overeating and accompanying weight issues
  • Individuals have 100 percent control over their food consumption and weight
  • That willpower alone drives moderation, weight loss and overall health.

It’s important for anyone suffering from an overeating disorder to understand that these statements are not valid.

Compulsive overeating is a complex eating disorder

“There is limited recognition — even among skilled and well-meaning healthcare providers — of the biological components of obesity including how weight is influenced by genetics, physiological factors and loss-of-control eating behaviors,” explains Julie Friedman, PhD, Vice President, Binge Eating and Bulimia Treatment Program at Eating Recovery Center Chicago and Assistant Professor at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

“The reality is that a complex set of hormones influence and determine hunger and satiety cues as well as how we feel, think and behave around food.  One’s weight and eating behaviors are largely determined by neurobiology rather than laziness or ‘motivation’ to lose weight.”

No matter what the cause of compulsive overeating, recovery is possible

Compulsive overeating is an illness that is often shrouded in shame and isolation. Please call us at 877-825-8584 to speak with an ERC Masters-level clinician who can help you understand your treatment options and guide you into the treatment program that’s right for you.

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Organizations that earn the Gold Seal of Approval™ have met or exceeded The Joint Commission’s rigorous performance standards to obtain this distinctive and internationally recognized accreditation. Learn more about this accreditation here.

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