the psychology service psychology service
psychology services SERVICES the psychology service COMPANY the psychology service uk network LOCATION psychology consultants CONSULTANTS contac the psychology service CONTACT instruct the psychology service INSTRUCTIONS
the psychology service Therapy Division psychology services Personal Injury Division

the psychology service Psychological Therapy

the psychology service Problems We Treat the psychology service About Our Consultants the psychology service Frequently Asked Questions the psychology service Quality Assurance

ObesityThe Psychology Service

What is obesity?

Marked weight gain, in excess of 120 percent of the standard weight for a person’s height, age and sex, is defined as clinical obesity. While many people are overweight, this becomes a psychological problem and may require treatment when it is associated with serious health problems and where psychological/emotional factors are involved, such that the person has little control over their eating pattern. It is distinguished from Bulimia Nervosa by the lack of significant body image distortion.

What are the symptoms?

Compulsive or binge eating refers to a tendency to eat more than a person needs. At times, large quantities of foods may be consumed (an eating ‘binge’), even though the person may not be physically hungry. The foods ingested in a binge are typically high calorie/carbohydrate, and high fat ‘comfort’ foods, such as sweets and chocolates, cakes and biscuits. Bingeing can occur at times of stress or boredom, and represents an inappropriate way of dealing with negative emotions such as anger, loneliness and sadness. Compulsive eating may lead to weight gain, which is often associated with feelings of lethargy and loss of confidence. Binge eating is a relatively common phenomenon amongst women. Indeed, most people probably ‘binge’ at times and compulsive eating can be culturally and socially sanctioned, for example, over the Christmas festivities. This is a normal phenomenon however.

How long does it last?

Many people have a lifelong problem relationship with food, but with others compulsive or binge eating can follow a period of stress, and will resolve when their life returns to normal. A pattern of alternating dieting and putting on weight is very common.

What is the treatment?

While education about food, exercise and health, and group support can be helpful, in pathological eating problems, such as compulsive or binge eating, it is essential to identify what the underlying problem and triggers for the eating pattern are. CBT has been found useful in many cases.

... moving ahead in psychology

the psychology service