Psychology

Calvary of hyperphagia: the advice of the specialist doctor

Interview with Dr. Gérard Apfeldorfer, psychiatrist and psychotherapist. He gives lots of information and advice on hyperphagia ...

> What is the difference between bulimia and hyperphagia?

Dr. Gérard Apfeldorfer : The definition is not exactly the same. The exact name of hyperphagia is "binge eating". In both cases, there is a loss of control of one's diet: one eats large quantities of food often fat and sweet, in a minimal time. The difference between binge eating and bulimia is that classic bulimics use weight control methods, the best known of which is vomiting. Others use laxatives, or alternations between bulimic periods and fasts where these people do not eat anything to "mop up". They play sports frantically to eliminate.
To schematize, hyperphages do not get sick and we often have weight problems.

> Do you think that the obsession to want to eat light at any price, can be at the origin of binge eating?

Dr. GA : If we only consider weight, it ends up with a restriction: we have to eliminate a number of foods that are magnifying. The result is to discard a whole series of foods that we like and that become more and more desirable. This leads to what is known as "cognitive restriction, " which, at an advanced stage, leads some people to diet, lose control, and bulimia / hyperphagia.

> Is hyperphagia a typical female disorder?

Dr. GA : If bulimia is predominantly female, binge eating is mixed. Men too eat greedily losing control, but seem less inclined to induce vomiting. Until now, the aesthetic considerations were less worrying for men, but it seems to be changing: men are becoming women like the others!

> Can we hope to get out of hyperphagia?

Dr. GA : Yes, we can get out of bulimia and overeating with proper and mixed treatment. There are indeed two important aspects. On the one hand, it is a work on eating behavior, designed to be reconciled with all the foods we love, eat without guilt, regain its food sensations and be able to stop as soon as we feel satiety. The second component is a therapy to relearn how to react other than by eating, facing the problematic situations of life and emotional reactions.

> What can you advise people with hyperphagia?

Dr. GA : We first have to see if it is a hyperphagia that requires psychological monitoring. Let's start by restoring an attentive diet: let's take the time to enjoy slowly and pleasantly its food by paying attention to their taste, in order to be able to stop as soon as one feels satiated.
To eat well, you must of course be calm, be soothed internally. If we find that eating like this is impossible, either because we feel guilty about eating the food we want, or because we are overwhelmed by his emotions, then we need to call on professional outside help.

Sources and notes
- Gérard Apfeldorfer, losing weight is in the head, ed. Odile Jacob, 2009.

- For more information on obesity and overweight, visit: www.gros.org .

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