An overeating eating disorder leaves a person feeling profound shame and feeling there is nowhere to hide. Often suffering from weight problems, the overeater feels chronically self conscious of their appearance and of eating in public, and will therefore either dissociate or isolate to avoid these overwhelming negative emotions.
The overeater is quick to dismiss their needs as they describe themselves as greedy or as disgusting. At CHARTER we immediately challenge this view as it is inaccurate – the overeating eating disorder evolves from pain and neglect not self-indulgence, and allowing this perspective feeds the punitive negative beliefs that kick off the next relapse. It is in CHARTER’S view mental self-harming. Instead we want to hold you safely and for long enough so that you can begin to trust this space, something an overeater finds particularly difficult to do, so that you can begin to feel and talk and recover.
Overeating itself as a primary condition usually develops from a childhood where the parents had difficulties so were unable to teach appropriate boundaries around self-care.
For most people we work with who struggle with an overeating eating disorder, we need time with you. Time for you to believe that CHARTER is a safe place, time for you to feel you belong and then time to begin the process of letting go, of eating in a healthy way so that when the weight begins to change you are able to stay with the process and not run away. We will do all we can to move at your pace so that each step you gain is banked and secured. This is how long term recovery is achieved and we will be with you every step of the way.
This may initially feel terrifying, as you will have long since defended yourself with the resignation that this is how life will always be, with weight between you and the outside world, and the negative belief that you are invisible and unworthy. Although this is not the case, we know we need to move very slowly and carefully with you so that you can adjust emotionally and mentally as the physical changes take place, and so that your investment in yourself can last. It is possible to get well, to let go of your dependence on food and eat healthily with your head held high. Readmore +
At CHARTER we are aware too that overeating, or a sugar/starch craving is not just in the domain of eating disorders, as it can also develop as a cross addiction in the early stages of recovery from alcohol dependence leaving the alcoholic more vulnerable to relapse. It is thus vital to provide a healthy food plan for those in early recovery, or mindfully work with the resistance against one.
Medical symptoms of compulsive overeating can include (but are not restricted to) significant weight gain and a plethora of associated illnesses such as obesity, diabetes, malnutrition, high cholesterol, hypertension, sleep apnoea, breathing difficulties, heart disease, depression, joint problems, kidney problems and risk of heart attack.
Sufferers of compulsive overeating, which can also be described as binge eating or food addiction, are likely to embark on crash diets or periods of starvation and compulsive exercise in a desperate attempt to ‘balance out’ their overeating or to lose the weight gained through overeating. People with this disease often suppose that their problems are caused primarily by their size, and subscribe to the belief that they would be happy if they were thinner. However, due to the compulsion of the disease and the restrictive nature of these fad diets, sufferers are rarely able to sustain these diets and often resume their binge eating behaviour, resulting in a vicious cycle of overeating and under-exercising alternating with under-eating and over-exercising. The longer this continues, the more serious the damage caused to the body and the more difficult the cycle is to break.
Despite ubiquitous beliefs and advice from doctors, the media and the Government that people suffering from weight problems need only to stick to a diet and do more exercise, for those whose weight issues are caused by compulsive overeating, an additional and more specialised form of help is required to cure the emotional and behavioural problems as well as the trauma that underlie the symptoms of compulsive overeating.
Caring about someone who has an overeating eating disorder is difficult as they are notoriously defended against appearing needy, and accepting help. Almost more than any other profile, the over-eater will insist that they are OK and don’t need your support, although you will feel that really they do. Navigating this conflicted relationship without becoming frustrated takes practice and at CHARTER we provide exactly this support at our popular Family Group on Tuesday evenings: a valued resource for many family members, providing education and support, and where many families and partners begin their own recovery journey.
We are always happy to answer any questions you may have. Some members of our team are in long term recovery from eating disorders themselves so know what it’s like to stand where you are standing. You can make an appointment with our assessment team using our Enquiry Form or simply give us a call so that we can discuss your treatment options and how we can help you or a member of your family.
We also have a library of useful documents for you to download and read in our PDF Library.PDF LIBRARY
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