Food 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.
- 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.
Food 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.