Is Overeating a Disorder?

Updated at: Feb 24, 2012
Is Overeating a Disorder?

Is overeating really an eating disorder? Find an answer!

Arshad Said Khan
Mental HealthWritten by: Arshad Said KhanPublished at: Feb 24, 2012

Man eating foodWe all have been guilty of overeating at some point in our lives. Nothing brings comfort like food and our mothers have long known this little fact. However, when a survival tactic becomes a force of habit you have reason to worry. It is one thing to buy a tub of ice-cream in moments of loneliness but it is quite another to abuse your refrigerator’s storing capacities.

Let's find out whether overeating really qualifies to be a disorder or not!

How frequent is frequent?

The first step is to observe patterns in your eating habits. Especially, if you think overeating in your case has taken troublesome proportions. Do you binge eat without getting hungry every few hours; at certain times of the day; during certain daily activities? Every eating disorder is an individual problem and spotting the traits of your own potential malady can help you stop before things get out of hand.


Once a pattern has been recognized, you need to ask yourself why am I eating more than required? Does your answer translate into making food a regular emotional crutch? Does it tell you that you are using food as a security blanket against depression or mood swings? Chances are that overeating in your case has become problematic.

Weight Gain?

To reach your optimum weight is a moot point. Doctors may have a chart for both men and women that tells you what should be your weight and BMI according to your height. Although, hardly anybody can say they maintain the right weight. More anxiety is created by media pushing the “body beautiful”. Feelings of guilt associated with overeating may trigger a reverse response in us. This leads to more overcompensation through that which is the very object of despair. More guilt fuels the habit and it becomes a cycle.


Any addiction is easy to recognise as one when it turns you into a pariah. If you are overeating and are conscious of the fact, you will find a way to withdraw into yourself. If you find yourself become painfully aware of eating publicly and comfortable only when doing it alone, it is time to consult a professional. At the same time unconscious association of obesity with food shows itself in shame.

Self Esteem?

Perhaps the purest reason behind any compulsive behavioural disorder is lack of self esteem. There is of course not one single reason behind overeating becoming an obsession and a variety of factors are always at play. It is wondrous though how sense of self can operate as a saviour. It is important for the overeater to ask him or herself the question: Am I eating to fill a void? On the other hand you may suffer from an overwhelming sense of pride in yourself and thus your motives to overeat will be completely different. Whatever may be the case, it is imperative to seek help if you have become aware of a crisis. 


Read more articles on Eating Disorders


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