Everyone overeats at some point. It could be an extra helping at dinner or sampling every dessert at a wedding or eating for comfort after a tough day. Others set a New Year’s resolution to lose weight but they start, stop and never really let a new eating program take hold. All of these behaviors fall within the realm of “normal.” None of these make you a food addict.
Then there are people who are struggling with food addiction. It’s one of the toughest addictions to manage because, quite simply, we need to eat. Eating, for many, is both a pleasure and a necessity. So where is the line between overeating and being a food addict? Here are some things you need to know.
Food can be addictive. There was a time when people didn’t believe that food was a substance you could get addicted to. Overeating and obesity were chalked up to laziness, lack of willpower or gluttony. Now we know that for some people, food is like a drug. And food addiction can be as debilitating as any other addiction.
Food addiction can mirror drug or alcohol addiction. For some individuals, certain foods like fat, sugar and carbs can trigger the same pleasure centers of the brain that are triggered by addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin. One of the earliest 12-step food addiction programs, Food Addicts Anonymous, has long identified food addiction as a chronic, progressive disease.
There are behavioral signs. People suffering from food addiction tend to exhibit symptoms such as:
Like most addictions, there are a host of psychological issues that often accompany food addiction, such as shame and guilt, low self-esteem, depression, and panic attacks and anxiety. They may experience irritability, especially when certain foods are restricted. Emotional detachment and numbness can also lead to suicidal thinking. If you’re concerned about where you stand in your relationship to food, ask yourself these questions: Do you:
Food addicts live for food but often feel consumed by it. A telltale sign of addiction is if you eat certain foods and cannot stop. Begin to gain awareness and control with the following tips:
Compulsion is often born of an inner pain that we try to numb with food. The more we hide our problems, the longer they will run our lives. You are not alone. Reach out to others dealing with the same issues and find out how treatment can help.
There is always hope when it comes to addiction. At Promises Behavioral Health, we offer programs to treat the food addiction process disorder. We use a variety of therapy programs, including:
To learn more about how to not be a food addict, contact 844.875.5609 today.
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