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Overeating daughter needs counseling

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answered 11:29 AM EST, Sat August 06, 2011
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My daughter is quite overweight and I believe that she uses food as a way to control her emotions. She will eat a normal amount at dinner but will often sneak into the kitchen later in the night and eat quite a lot by herself later on. My husband, my son and myself are not overweight, so I do not believe that she has a metabolic condition. We have tried getting her to exercise with us and various whole family diets but they do not work because they do not seem to address the root cause of the overeating. I think she would benefit from some sort of food counseling, but I do not think she has an eating disorder so I am not sure what type of help she needs. Can you recommend a type of therapist or therapy type that fits her needs?

Jody Hansen Says...

Jody Hansen J. Hansen

You are correct in that compulsive over-eaters frequently use food to help cope with uncomfortable emotions. I would suggest that a complete physical is in order to rule out any medical issues. She also needs to begin therapy with a counselor or social worker who specializes in eating disorders. They would be able to assess her situation and work with her on developing more positive coping strategies. They would also be able to address any underlying issues, such as family problems, sexual problems,etc that may be at root of the problem. The family may be required to become a part of the treatment at some point. For right now, love and support not nagging and pushing are in order. I wish her well.

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