Help keep your loved ones safe with the Home Safety Checklist.

Site Maintenance Completed.  Click here for details.

RSS Feed Print
Compusive eating
Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2019 1:51 PM
Joined: 1/3/2019
Posts: 1

I have a mild-to-moderate Alzheimers lady who manages her ADLs fairly well and is very physically active on her farm.  Issue is COMPULSIVE EATING.  She will make herself 5 bowls of cereal before lunch even after having a 3-egg omelette with cheese & meat (plenty of protein) and probably 24 ounces of water.  She claims that she hasn't had anything to eat and is "starving."

I've logged her eating so that she can see herself what she's had, but she doesn't believe it was TODAY - or she wouldn't be so hungry.  She'll even say she's so hungry her stomach hurts (mine would too!) after she's taken in over 4000 calories!  She's gone from a petite Size 2 to a tight Size 10 in less than a year.

We can go to the Senior Center lunch where she'll eat a plate from the salad bar as well as the entree & dessert and return home to make herself a sandwich - and another sandwich an hour after that before going out for a full dinner with her daughter!  And her daughter says she claims she hasn't eaten all day and is "starving."

I've put dishes of nuts around for her to snack on, but she'll make sandwiches, bowls of cereal with milk & honey or eat half a dozen granola bars and then maybe ice cream.  Feeding her animals is just as compulsive, continually "'treating" her dog & cat with cereal, Teddy Grahams, ice cream, warmed milk and deli meat.  Her eating and her feeding appear to be linked.

It's becoming obsessive.  She has seen her internist and a neurologist although they haven't addressed this issue directly.

Any advice or thoughts???

Rescue mom
Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2019 3:12 PM
Joined: 10/12/2018
Posts: 601

She’s gone from a petite size 2 to a “tight size 10” in a year? Have her docs seen her in that time? That’s like  a 100-pound weight gain. I can’t see how that’s healthy, unless she was sick or starved before.

Do you have any control over food availability ? Do you have any responsibility for her well-being? I can’t get my head around how this would not be a visible issue to family or docs.

Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2019 3:17 PM
Joined: 4/1/2014
Posts: 4749

I think this issue needs to be address specifically with her doctors so they can address it. It is likely linked to her brain disease and could adversely affect her health so it is a real medical concern. As you have seen-words won't change her-or redirection. She may need medicinal intervention as there actually are areas in the brain that affect hunger and satiation.  Let us know what her doctors say as others have had similar issues with their LOs. Good luck~!
bull dog
Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2019 7:32 PM
Joined: 4/1/2018
Posts: 54

That sounds like my husband. He will keep eating large amounts and not remember that he ate and keep asking for food. he would eat a whole loaf of bread, a whole package of cookies. When we used to go to go out he would some times ask other people for their food or even take other peoples food. I have had to hide all of the food in plastic bags in the refrigerator, freezer and cabinets.I give him his meals and healthy snacks in between. He still asks for food all day but because his memory is so bad I am able to control what he eats. Because the person you are helping is so independent I can see how it would be way more difficult to deal with the problem. Letting the doctors know what is going on sounds like the best thing to do at this time. This would be very difficult to deal with. I hope that you will be able to come up with some possible solutions.
Iris L.
Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2019 8:17 PM
Joined: 12/15/2011
Posts: 15935

If you were to do a search of this board, you would find that compulsive eating and compulsive sweets-eating are common with PWDs (persons with dementia).  You will have to function more in a take charge manner by using work-arounds which you will learn from the other members.  Do not expect her to self-correct or to self-monitor.  She has no insight.

Iris L.

Posted: Thursday, January 3, 2019 8:48 PM
Joined: 8/22/2016
Posts: 241

Sounds like behavioral variant Fronto Temperol Dementia. Not Alzheimer’s.
Posted: Friday, January 4, 2019 5:49 AM
Joined: 3/6/2017
Posts: 1457

Is she on any medications?

Weight gain is a known side effect of both the SSRI and atypical antipsychotic medications. It can be dramatic on the latter; I have seen people put on 20-50% of their original body weight on medications like Risperdal, Geodon and Seroquel.
Posted: Friday, January 4, 2019 7:04 AM
Joined: 4/4/2016
Posts: 153

Hi Musicmomma glad you found us.


Not sure if this is true but it seems like sometimes whatever is wrong with the pwd gets 'wrong signals" from their brain that makes them have false sensations. For my dmil it is that it is cold in the house, room, where ever. I mean she had my dfil putting the heat up in the house in JULY!! It was well over 90 degrees outside and you can imagine how hot the house was but she would still insist that it was COLD!! She, as you can imagine, tends to sweat a lot due to this (yes she says she is "cold" but way you can explain that those two things don't go together). She of course got a bad rash due to all the sweat collecting anywhere skin is in contact with other skin.  She was actually hospitalized due to getting so agitated about being cold that she was threating to kill herself as well as other dangerous threats.  We have increased her Serequel and she is better but still cold.



Posted: Saturday, January 5, 2019 7:19 PM
Joined: 11/13/2018
Posts: 66

My DW has several of those "events" at the moderate alz stage.

She is always cold, and will be sobbing when she gets up in the morning and will complain that is too cold or she hurts (butt or legs) A few minutes later the pain is "gone", she forgets about it, but not the cold. We heat a lot with wood heat and I have it in the upper 70's to low 80's, and most times she has on a sweat shirt or jacket. Same reaction getting into a vehicle, too cold. Had her thyroid checked several times with minor adjustments to try and help with the cold. Has not had any effect.

On eating, she too forgets that we had just had a meal maybe 1-2 hours before. Can only hide goodies so much in the freezers. Have had some luck with wrapping item with tin foil to hide their them, but she some times can figure that out. Only good thing is that she will forget what I had done some times. At times I just feel like letting her go on and eat what she likes and thinks she wants, but then I have second thoughts about it.  If I knew her time was short, I'd just let her do it.

Also time has become a stranger to her. If we are going out, I will say the time or the amount of time we have before we will leave. She will put on her jacket or two and just stand ready to leave home.

 She is on Namzaric ( Memantine & Donepezil), and awaiting for appointment to a Dementia Clinis at OHSU Portland, Oregon.

At other times during the day, she will start crying and sobbing saying she "don't know what to do, or I don't know what's wrong" etc. Of course it gets worse as time passes.

So glad we can share with other here on this group. It would be a very lonely journey with out all of you.


Posted: Monday, January 7, 2019 8:42 PM
Joined: 8/6/2016
Posts: 322

If I left it up to my Sister who has EOD, she would eat everything in sight. She will even eat dog treats if they look appealing. My kitchen is locked up tight. She can't help herself to anything from the kitchen. I feed her on a schedule and she has gotten used to it. She still doesn't remember eating a meal, and I will give her fruits or veggies when she complains of hunger.
× Close Menu