The Difference Between Overeating Compulsions and Binge Eating Disorders

binge eating disorder
Food can be a form of self-medicating and therapeutic aid. When food becomes a problem through overeating or binge eating disorder there are serious health risks at hand. Overeating is different from binge eating disorder. Overeating is a compulsive issue, while binge eating is a diagnosable mental illness which necessitates specific treatment and recovery.

Overeating Happens Occasionally. Binge Eating Is Chronic.

Attendees to twelve step support groups like Overeaters Anonymous and Food Addicts Anonymous might disagree that overeating is only an episodic experience. It is possible to experience chronic overeating but not qualify for a diagnosis of binge eating disorder. The binge episodes unique to binge eating disorder happen at least once a week, without control. High quantities of food which might be considered extreme to others are common during a binge eating episode. More importantly, binge eating disorder causes an individual to lose their agency when it comes to food. Both overeating and binge eating disorder can cause life and the relationship to food to feel unmanageable.

Overeating Is Conscious. Binge Eating Is Out Of Control

Overeating is typically an intentional decision to consume more than necessary, feeling aware, if  not guilty, of one’s decisions and behaviors. Binge eating disorder, on the other hand, is characterized by the inability to stop binge eating once it begins. Feelings of dissociation and unconscious are common, as if someone with binge eating disorder was transported to another realm, separate from their uncontrollable eating.

Overeating Stops. Binge Eating Does Not.

Overeating usually will not take someone to the point of physical discomfort or pain as a result of their eating, though it can happen occasionally. Since overeating is more conscious than binge eating, there is a greater margin for guilt or other driven decision making to halt the overeating process. Binge eating disorder does not always demonstrate through binge eating episodes, but most often does. Eating quickly with ferocity, a binge eating episode will typically lead to painful feelings of being full, leading to panic, guilt, and anxiety, as well as digestive health complications. It is important to note that purging and restriction of any kind do not common binge eating disorder.

You can find peace and balance in your life and your relationship with food. At Cottonwood Tucson, all of our clients work privately with a behavioral health nutritionist who specializes in mental health nutrition. Leading the industry in clinical co-occurring disorder treatment, our addiction rehab and behavioral health treatment programs provide safety and understanding while offering hope and healing. For information on our inpatient programs, call us today by dialing (888) 727-0441.

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