The 5 Types of Overeaters: Type 3 Impulsive-Compulsive

Blog-The 5 Types of Overeaters Type 3 Impulsive-Compulsive Overeaters

To lose weight, the only body part you need to be most concerned with isn’t your belly, butt or thighs, it’s your BRAIN.

The brain is your command and control center. It’s how you make good or bad decisions about behavior and food and tells you:

• What, when and how much to eat.
• What to buy at the grocery store or order in a restaurant.
• When and how often to exercise.

The Problem

Most diets fail because they take a one-size-fits-all approach. Our work with SPECT imaging has shown us that there are multiple types of overeaters:

Introducing the Type 3 Overeater: Impulsive-Compulsive

People with this type have a combination of both impulsive and compulsive features. On the surface it seems almost contradictory, but people can be both impulsive and compulsive at the same time (think of the compulsive gambler, who cannot stop focusing on placing a bet and has no restraint to prevent him from doing it).

• These people often think about food all day long
• Many people with bulimia have this type
• This type is particularly common in children and grandchildren of alcoholics or people who have a significant family history of alcoholism

SPECT scans of impulsive – compulsive overeaters tend to show:

• Too much activity in the anterior cingulate gyrus, so people get stuck on their thoughts.
• Too little activity in the prefrontal cortex, so they have trouble putting on the brakes and saying, “no.”

The high activity in the anterior cingulate gyrus is associated with low serotonin levels while the low activity in the prefrontal cortex is likely due to low dopamine levels.

People with impulsive – compulsive overeating therefore, do best with treatments that raise both serotonin and dopamine (using serotonin or dopamine interventions by themselves usually makes the problem worse). It is also very important to strengthen the prefrontal cortex and practice strategies to increase mental flexibility and “get unstuck.”

Keep the Weight Off for Good

The Amen Clinics Method—developed through 26 years of clinical practice—uses a detailed clinical history, SPECT imaging to understand brain function, neuropsychological testing and laboratory studies to target treatment specifically to your brain using the least toxic, most effective means.

If you, or someone you love, could benefit from an evaluation at Amen Clinics, call our Care Coordinators today at 888-288-9834 or tell us more online.


  1. What are the 5 types of over eaters?

    Comment by Carol — February 19, 2018 @ 7:21 AM

  2. Hello Carol, The 5 Types of Overeaters are all listed here – More articles to come as well!

    Comment by Amen Clinics — February 20, 2018 @ 10:08 AM

  3. What supplements are you recommending for this type

    Comment by Kathy Harrington — February 26, 2018 @ 6:59 AM

  4. Do you have clinics in Virginia? Does insurance cover this type of brain imaging exam?

    Comment by Jojo Robertson — November 1, 2018 @ 8:07 AM

  5. Hello Jojo, yes we have a clinic in Reston, VA. Here is more information:

    Comment by Amen Clinics — November 1, 2018 @ 8:59 AM

  6. Do you have a clinic or a referral for Honolulu?

    Comment by Michael — November 2, 2018 @ 8:56 AM

  7. Do you have a clinic in or near Boston, Mass? Does insurance cover?
    Thank you.

    Comment by Judith Saraceno — November 3, 2018 @ 4:01 AM

  8. Do you have a clinic in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma?

    Comment by Sandy — February 22, 2019 @ 11:19 AM

  9. When is a clinic to open in the ahouston area?

    Comment by Kathy Humphries — February 23, 2019 @ 8:43 AM

  10. Do you ever see all five types in the same brain…especially after a left temporal lobe CVA – hemorrhagic stroke even post seven years.

    Comment by Kathy — February 23, 2019 @ 8:55 AM

  11. Is there a clinic near Myrtle Beach SC?

    Comment by Rose Havery — October 11, 2023 @ 8:38 PM

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