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?
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
long does it last?
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.
is the treatment?
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.