Food Addiction as Substance Abuse

food substance abuseNot many people think of a food addiction as a type of substance abuse, but that is exactly what it is. Binging on food is triggered by the same impulses that trigger a person to binge on drugs and alcohol. The reasons for overusing food are very similar to the reasons for overusing other substances. We have other harsh descriptions for it, such as gluttony, overeating and piggishness, but when it comes right down to it, being addicted to food is actually a type of substance abuse.

Like all substance abuse patterns, over eating begins with cravings for food. Many elements of food are addictive, such as salt and sugar, and when people who cannot control their cravings very well get these urges, over eating ensues. When they are done, they receive temporary feelings of satisfaction from over eating and tell themselves that it will not become a pattern.

However, the cycle of overeating dictates that the following cravings will be even stronger. Every time a person overeats, a pattern is established more and more firmly within their neural network. That pattern is the release of brain chemicals that tell the person they are starving and they cannot handle themselves if they do not binge again soon. This cycle is almost impossible for the person to resist and always results in continued overeating until the individual has a personal breakthrough.

Food addiction is much more socially acceptable than other forms of addiction, such as alcoholism or drug addiction, so there are more cases of it than other types of substance abuse. In fact, obesity is a bigger problem in North America than it is in any other region of the world. However, in order to view it correctly, it must be understood as substance abuse and harmful to personal health. If you or somone you are close to is struggling with a food addiction, seek the help of a mental health professional right away.

Identifying Food Addiction

food addiction identificationYou may be suspecting yourself or someone you know of having a food addiction. Lately, you have been noticing certain signs and behaviors that could indicate a compulsive overeating problem. But everyone loves the foods of their choice. How do you distinguish a food addiction from a healthy love of food? Below are several signs to watch for in order to identify a food addict:

  • When eating certain trigger foods that are particularly pleasurable, the addict will consistently eat more than they intend to eat, exceeding their desired portion.
  • A food addict will continue to eat even when they are not hungry, ignoring their bodily signals that are telling them they are full, even to the point that they are physically ill.
  • The thought of having to quit or cut back on eating certain favorite foods causes stresses and worry in food addicts.
  • A food addict will go to great lengths to obtain the food they want when it is not available, such as calling around to stores and restaurants to locate it at any time of day.
  • For food addicts, eating becomes such a time consuming daily activity that time for work, school, personal relationships, goals and hobbies is lost.
  • The desire to eat is so overpowering for food addicts that they may even avoid certain social situations so that their overeating problem is not discovered.
  • Eating interferes in the daily obligations of food addicts, such as school or work.
  • Refraining from eating or not having the option to eat causes feelings of anxiety, agitation and hunger pains in food addicts.
  • Emotional issues result from overeating in food addicts, such as guilt, anxiety, depression and self-loathing.
  • Food addicts do not eat a consistent amount of food, but rather increase their food intake over time in order to inrease the pleasure of eating or supress negative emotions.
  • Food addicts build a tolerance for the amount of food they take in and increase the amount of food they eat to continue experiencing the same pleasure feelings.

Treatment for Food Addiction

food addiction treatmentEnding a food addiction is a very difficult thing to do alone. Because food is a life necessity, it is available everywhere, and because it is a marketable commodity, reminders of food are everywhere. It takes an unprecedented discovery of will power to end a food addiction without help. That is why experts recommend reaching out for help from mental health professionals in order to end a food addiction. A severe food addiction is risky enough to warrant rehabilitation, as it can affect a person’s health, personal relationships and purpose. Residential rehabilitation could be the solution to your compulsive eating problem!
Upon arrival at an inpatient treatment center, a detoxification process will begin. Medications are less typical for a food addiction than they are for a drug or alcohol addiction, but a doctor may still prescribe a medication for a food addiction in some circumstances in order to suppress hunger cravings and other withdrawal symptoms. Detoxification will include the incorporation of a balanced, reasonably portioned diet consisting of vitamins and nutrients that will begin to restore the body to its original health.
Counseling and monitoring require particular attention to how a food addiction is different from other addictions. Unlike drugs and alcohol, a food addiction is lifelong in some cases and much harder to break. There are people who have been overfed since they were very small who view overeating is a part of every day life. Helping a person rethink their patterns and choices on such a broad level requires specific knowledge of a food addiciton, which is why selecting a rehab that specializes in food addiction is essential. The addict will be exposed to modern treatment methods, group and individual counseling, workbook and reading exercises and therapeutic activities.
When treatment is complete, a good quality rehab will offer ongoing support in the form of counseling, meetings and other aftercare tactics to ensure the permanency of the addict’s recovery. Food addictions are powerful, but so is quality addiction treatment. If you or someone you know is struggling with a food addiction, make contact with a reputable rehabilitation center today.
If you are not addicted but struggle with an overeating problem, a viable treatment option is weight loss surgery. Weight loss surgery removes or staples together part of the stomach so that the individual naturally craves smaller portions. This does not successfully curb an addiction problem, but can drastically reduce a person’s desire to overeat. Reputable weight loss surgery in Kelowna is available, as well as Vancouver and Kamloops. Ask your doctor if weight loss surgery is a good option for you.

Addicted to Food

food addictionFood addiction is much more common than most people realize. Because we need food to survive, we are required to make daily decisions about what and how much to eat. We have a built in psychology about food which dictates the decisions we make about eating. Food addiction and sex addiction are often considered the two hardest addictions to control because they are both tied to a basic carnal human need, and the line between want and need can be blurred. A food addict is constantly needing to practice self-control, because whenever meal time rolls around they must try to engage in healthy thinking about food.

Food addiction is defined as the compulsive eating, usually overeating, of food. The root causes of food addiction are tied to the same factors that every other addiction is caused by: environment, behavior, psychology and emotions. There is not a single route to any one addiction; every individual’s story is unique. Some people develop a food addiction in response to abandonment issues, while others may have grown up with very little food restrictions and do not know how to limit themselves as adults. Those who are afflicted with a food addiction usually struggle with weight issues and frequently struggle with self-esteem issues.

Food is also the most frequently substituted addiction, meaning a person giving up another addiction is more likely to turn to food than any other addictive substance or behavior in order to cope. This is called trading addictions – a practice that is thought of as counter productive and discouraged by addiction treatment specialists.

Fortunately, food addiction is widely treatable as most addiction treatment centers feature programs specifically for food addicts. Rehabilitation counselors are very familiar with the triggers and feelings associated with food addiction and can guide an addict through recovery using cognitive behavioral therapy and food-addiction treatment counseling models. If you or someone you love is addicted to food, do not hesitate to reach out to an addiction treatment facility today.

Beating the Food Addiction

beat addiction to foodA food addiction is more than just a bad habit. It is a way of life for many people, and a particularly unhealthy way of life. Any addiction promotes an unhealthy lifestyle, but the ones that involve substances, such as a food, alcohol or drug addiction, are some that impose the most immediate threats to the addict. These addictions have rapid biological effects on the addict that change their bodily chemistry for the worse. A food addiction is dangerous and detrimental to the addict, and overcoming it should be a high priority, but how does one bring a food addiction under control?
In terms of seeking therapy and counsel, for extreme food addictions that are putting the addict in danger, inpatient rehab is highly recommended. This form of live-in, concentrated addiction treatment is the most intensive, aggressive and effective means of ending any addiction, and inpatient rehab programs that specialize in food addiction and eating disorders are available. For less severe addictions, outpatient rehab is a similar form of treatment, but it is not residential so treatment sessions are shorter and more spread out. Self-help methods, such as addiction literature, work well for mild addictions and for independent people who value teaching themselves.
Pulling your support system close to you is vital when recovering from a food addiction. This may be your friends, family or a food addiction support group that you have sought out. People you are close to and trust will be an important asset to your food addiction recovery. In times of weakness when you feel in danger of relapsing or binging, turning to members of your support system for encouragement can make the difference between success and failure.
And lastly, in order to beat any addiction, including food addiction, a particular key to success lies in filling your time with meaningful activities, hobbies, purposes and goals. Having a life of meaning will inspire a food addict to make a full recovery through the desire to experience and embrace life at its fullest.

What is Food Addiction

addiction to foodFood addiction is when a person compulsively eats more food than their body needs. There can be a number of things that inspire a food addiction, such as mental, emotional, psychological, behavioral, social, biological and environmental factors. Regardless of the reason for the food addiction, it is highly probable that it will cause health risks to the addict if left untreated. Physical risks may include heart disease, obesity and digestive issues. It is highly beneficial to the health of the addict to seek counseling or rehabilitation in order to end their food addiction and resume a healthy diet.

When a food addiction is biological, it is the chemistry of the person’s neural network that is causing them to compulsively overeat. Food addictions can be genetic or can be a brain abnormality, which are simply things a person is born with. A hormone imbalance, whether temporary or permanent, can be responsible for a food addiction, and various medications can cause food addiction as a side effect. Not everyone’s food addiction is caused by mental and emotional factors.

A majority of food addiction cases are, however, spawned by psychological factors. If the addict grew up in an environment of compulsive overeating, they could be modeling the behavior of those who raised them. Emotional scarring can be a huge contributor to a food addiction. Because food gives the brain feelings of pleasure, a person may overeat in an attempt to cope with something unpleasurable that happened to them. Some of these emotional scars may be buried in the person’s subconscious where only a mental health professional can treat them. If you or someone you care about has a food addiction and is not able to control it on their own, it is wise to seek the help of a professional counselor or addiction specialist. Food addictions are treatable and manageable, but can do irreparable harm to a person’s health if they persist.