Hyperphagia means the ingestion of excessive amounts of food, overeating. It is characterized by an irresistible urge to eat without real hunger. The amounts of food consumed are very high and are often swallowed without chewing. Food is absorbed continuously. This symptom is also true for bulimia, which is a psychiatric disorder. Bulimia occurs by binge eating crises followed by a deep feeling of sickness, coupled with a mixture of shame, guilt and self-loathing. Unlike bulimia, binge eating in the case of hyperphagia is not followed by vomiting, and weight is not kept under control. Overeating affects both women and men, and is considered to be a psychological cause. It may be a compensation for a feeling of loneliness or lack of confidence.
Overeating is manifested as follows:
- food intake in many and varied forms and continuously without any particular preference;
- a need to eat the fatty foods, read: the entire pack or box;
- a state of extreme nervousness;
- a light or a strong overweightness;
- an increase in cholesterol after food ingested;
- risk of diabetes;
The diagnosis of binge eating is made by observing the behaviors mentioned above: consumption of food faster or longer than normal, hiding this and a feeling of self-loathing.
Overeating should be treated in the same way as other eating disorders. Medical supervision is sometimes not enough and must be accompanied by psychological counseling that help understand the reasons for this behavior.
Prevention of overeating is assured through a proper understanding of this disorder. We must also learn to manage stress and uncontrollable cravings for food.