Food Addiction

What is Food Addiction?

Food addiction is a disease similar to drug or alcohol addiction in which a chemical reaction in the brain is triggered by a certain behavior. With food addiction, the behavior that triggers the reaction is eating a particular food or a particular amount of food. This addiction manifests itself in the uncontrollable cravings that one has for excessive eating and typically involves eating salty, sugary or carbohydrate rich foods for satisfaction.

The cravings that a food addict will have to eat are so strong that the addict cannot control them and in many cases, food addiction will lead to a deteriorated quality of life. Physical, emotional, social and spiritual happiness and well-being are all affects by food addiction. Once an individual who is addicted to food eats and experiences the “high” or pleasurable state that they feel when they are done eating, they will quickly feel the need to eat more or to eat again to feel that feeling.

Tolerance can build as an individual eats more and this can lead to a desire to eat even when they are already full. In fact, tolerance can result in an individual’s need to consume more and more food with less and less satisfaction from their eating over time. Because of the tolerance that builds, scientists believe that food addiction plays an important role in obesity and in the struggle to lose weight.

Could You Be Addicted To Food?

Do these actions apply to you? Do you:

  • End up eating more than planned when you start eating certain foods
  • Keep eating certain foods even if you’re no longer hungry
  • Eat to the point of feeling ill
  • Worry about not eating certain types of foods or worry about cutting down on certain types of foods
  • When certain foods aren’t available, go out of your way to obtain them

What is the impact of your relationship with food on your personal life. Ask yourself if these situations apply to you:

  • You eat certain foods so often or in such large amounts that you start eating food instead of working, spending time with the family, or doing recreational activities.
  • You avoid professional or social situations where certain foods are available because of fear of overeating.
  • You have problems functioning effectively at your job or school because of food and eating.

Psychological withdrawal symptoms include when you cut down on certain foods (excluding caffeinated beverages), do you have symptoms such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Other physical symptoms

Food Addiction Symptoms

The symptoms of food addiction affect an individual physically, emotionally, spiritually and socially. Food addicts gain pleasure from the anticipation of eating, the availability of food or from actually eating food. This pleasure leads to excessive eating, typically of the wrong types of foods, that can lead to increased weight gain, poor self-image, and a range of other medical conditions. Often times, food addicts do not even realize that they are addicted to food as their addiction and improper eating habits have simply become a way of life.


Physical Food Addiction Symptoms

  • Inability to control cravings for food or to control amount of food that is eaten
  • trying many different weight loss or diet programs but still excessively consuming food
  • vomiting, using laxatives or exercising in excess to avoid weight gain as a result of over consumption of food

Each of these physical symptoms of food addiction can lead to long term consequences. Those who vomit regularly to overcome the fact that they ate a large amount of food are likely to suffer from tooth decay, esophageal problems, malnutrition and a range of other issues as a result of their addiction. In time, an obsession with food, whether it’s an obsession with not eating, overeating and dieting to cover it up or using diuretics or other methods to reduce weight from overeating, a food obsession can lead to rash physical problems and could even result in death if left untreated.

Emotional Symptoms of Food Addiction

  • feeling ashamed about your weight
  • feeling depressed or sad about your weight or self-image
  • feeling hopeless when it comes to losing weight
  • eating when upset or depressed
  • eating as a reward for a job well done
  • eating when you are not hungry
  • becoming anxious or irritable when eating certain foods or when not eating or if there doesn’t seem to be enough foodHelp is here.

    Early detection of a food addiction is vital to the successful recovery for the individual. Further, the sooner that one realizes the need for help, the least chance there is for negative consequences to have set in such as extreme weight gain, physical illness or other problems that are associated with eating too much or consuming the wrong foods.

    Not all food addictions result in weight gain though. In some cases, an individual’s decision to consume large amounts of food is followed by excessive exercising, vomiting or use of laxatives to eliminate or reduce that number of calories that were eaten. This is known as bulimia. In other cases, excessive eating is followed by instances of limiting food for days or even weeks at a time which is a form of anorexia. Both of these eating disorders are characterized by an addiction in some manner to food and can lead to extreme weight loss.
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