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J Clin Psychol. 1998 Feb;54(2):163-7.

The addiction of overeating: self-help groups as treatment models.

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  • 1California State University, Dominguez Hills, USA.


This article defines eating disorders and compares it to other addictions, gives a brief etiology, and presents two treatment models: Overeaters Anonymous and Weight Watchers International. The same personality factors that place individuals at risk for substance abuse are often found in individuals with eating disorders. These predispositions are explored from both a developmental and sociological perspective. Resources within our own communities can provide valuable interventions. Overeaters Anonymous emphasizes the psychological and spiritual components, with its main focus being the commitment to the group. Weight Watchers is also rooted in the fellowship of community but adopts a more behavioristic model. Although Weight Watchers supplies more practical strategies for managing overeating, both groups provide a framework for developing positive, adaptive, and self-nurturing modalities.

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