People suffering from compulsive eating have problems in understanding and distinguishing various feelings and needs. They are often unaware of the real causes of their boredom, anger, fatigue or disappointment. Instead they experience these feelings as hunger. Eating becomes a way to quick satisfaction so that real problems can be avoided. Eating is used to hide problems and avoid feelings.
Those afflicted with compulsive eating need to be aware of and understand these unpleasant feelings in order to recover. Good solutions can only be worked out if problems are understood. To eat compulsively may be a quick and simple way to get temporary relaxation. In order to get well, it is necessary to learn to be aware of real feelings which are wrongly experienced as an intense longing for food. This is difficult and help from a psychotherapist in self-understanding is often required.