People who compulsively overeat may eat alone to keep their problem a secret. They are usually aware that their behavior and thoughts are not appropriate, but may have difficulty indicating to others that they have an issue. Frequently, the loved ones of a person that compulsively overeats recognize the symptoms and help the individual access treatment.
People who compulsively overeat eat abnormally large amounts of food on a frequent basis throughout the day. They may eat when they do not feel hungry and continue to eat after they feel full. They may feel like they cannot stop eating, control the amount of food that they eat, or how frequently they eat. They may eat alone and hide their compulsive overeating behaviors from others.
People who compulsively overeat may diet in an attempt to control their weight. However, dieting may make them feel deprived and in turn fuels the compulsive eating. They may have a history of weight fluctuations, but commonly are overweight or obese. They may feel ashamed of being overweight. Additionally, depression, anxiety, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, or substance abuse may accompany compulsive overeating.
Over time, untreated compulsive overeating can lead to serious medical complications. Associated medical conditions include high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, bone conditions, and depression. The cumulative consequences of compulsive overeating can cause death.