The Psychiatric Quarterly

, Volume 28, Issue 1–4, pp 211–224 | Cite as

The psychologic implications of overeating

  • Stanley W. Conrad


  1. 1.

    Overeating implies the existence of an emotional problem.

  2. 2.

    Overeating may be used to: (a) allay anxiety; (b) obtain gratification; (c) express hostility.

  3. 3.

    Because the overeater is orally fixated, he regresses to oral mechanisms whenever he has anxiety. Food, particularly high carbohydrate food, has an unconscious significance for him and temporarily helps to allay his anxiety.

  4. 4.

    The individual who is discontented and inclined to self-pity may resort to food as a prime source of pleasure and gratification.

  5. 5.

    Eating as an expression of hostility may denote: (a) defiance; (b) repressed hostility; (c) denial of hostility; (d) oral incorporation.

  6. 6.

    An understanding of the implications of overeating will afford the therapist a clue to the patient's underlying emotional problems.

  7. 7.

    Since overeating and, hence, obesity are psychological problems, the most effective treatment is psychotherapy.



Obesity Migraine Emotional Problem Allay Obese Person 
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Copyright information

© The Psychiatric Quarterly 1954

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stanley W. Conrad
    • 1
  1. 1.Philadelphia 3

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