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What Is Compulsive Eating Disorder?

Learn what compulsive eating disorder is from Allegra Broft, M.D. in this Howcast video.


Well, 'compulsive eating disorder', the term is not an official eating disorder diagnosis. So different people might mean different things by 'compulsive eating disorder'. But, when I talk to patients and they talk about feeling like they have compulsive eating, I think one of the things that patients typically are referring to is a sense of being out of control around food, feeling like they sit down to have a meal or a snack and feel out of control around it, maybe want to eat more or much more than they originally set out to eat. For some people, compulsive eating means frank binge eating episodes. So, where a person's eating a much larger amount of food than most people would consider appropriate for a typical meal with an associated feeling throughout the binge episode of a loss of control.

There can be other aspects of eating that can feel compulsive. Being on a diet for some people can turn into a very compulsive thing where the behavior feels almost, like, larger than life, or something that they can't resist doing after a while.

So, if you feel like you're struggling with a compulsive eating problem, whatever that might mean to you, the good news is that there is are good ways to address that out there. There are good treatment providers, good treatment centers that can really help you with a variety of different types of compulsive eating problems and help turn what could be a quite disconcerting psychological problem, or even a troublesome medical consequence of something like compulsive eating, like overweight, can help turn that around into a more comfortable, stable relationship with food again.

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