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Food Addiction

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The concept of addiction has evolved considerably since it was first used to describe opium users in the early 1900s, questions remain about whether the word can be applied to one of humankind’s most fundamental needs: Can a person be addicted to food? Here in this blog we are going to see more about what this food addiction is?

What is food addiction?

Though a clinical term, addiction is often interchanged in common conversation with words ranging from commitment and dedication to obsession and compulsion. People often talk about being “addicted” to any kind of sports or to their favourite sports player in the team or for any of their favorite television shows, where in reality their behavior merely indicates that they are actually enjoying themselves on a team success in order to get away from their frustrations.

Addicted to alcohol or drugs will make you more physically and psychologically  weak. When they are exposed to a situation which triggers their addiction, those people who have recovered recently try to withhold the reactions, this actually causes some severe damage to their body. This condition is often stated as the withdrawal symptoms.

What is food addiction

All humans need food, when they fail to eat it automatically result in physical and mental stress. But can we really describe these individuals who don’t take appropriate meals as “addicted” to food? Howard J. Shaffer, Ph.D., C.A.S., of the Cambridge Health Alliance Division on Addictions, said that the answer to that question is “yes.”

Even now some schools thought that addiction is the result of a person’s genetic predisposition to the “addictive” qualities to some kind of foods or certain substances, Shaffer says his research has led him to consider a wider sphere of influences when attempting to make a diagnosis. 

In an essay that appeared on the CHA Division of Addictions website, Shaffer wrote that addictions are complex patterns of action that can involve genetic, social, and behavioral influences. To those who wonder how a substance as apparently innocuous as a sandwich that focuses on the behaviour that is commonly associated with cocaine or heroin.

Additional research has attempted to identify key components of the relationship between food addicts and the objects of their obsession. For example, an Aug. 10, 2007, article distributed by the NewScientist news service described insights into the influence that a hormone called leptin may have on suppressing (or failing to suppress) a person’s appetite.

According to the NewScientist article, medical professionals at the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom) performed brain scans on two obese teenagers who exhibited the desire to eat non-stop. The researchers discovered that the teens – a 14-year-old boy who weighed more than 225 pounds and a 19-year-old girl who weighed just over 280 pounds – both had an extremely rare genetic disorder that rendered their bodies unable to produce leptin.

Discovered in 1994, leptin is produced by fat cells in the body to signal the brain to reduce appetite. Unlike the rare genetic status of the two British teenagers, researchers have theorized that in most cases an overproduction of the hormone in obese people can cause their brains to become immune to leptin’s effects, effectively shutting off the body’s natural appetite-suppressant switch.

Recognizing the Signs

Individual findings aside, as with all types of compulsive behavior, while dealing with this complex disorder food addiction there is no simple diagnostic test that exists.

In a paper published on the recovery resource website Anonymous One, Scott McCann compares attempting to recognize a food addict with trying to differentiate between a heavy drinker and an alcoholic.

“The moderate and heavy drinkers can stop or moderate their drinking when alcohol affects their daily living. The alcoholic cannot. They develop a physical, mental and emotional phenomenon of craving and chemical addiction to alcohol,” McCann writes. “Similarly … How to stop binge eating Many overeaters can moderate and reduce their weight through a change in their diet and exercise. The food addict cannot. They develop the same physical, mental, emotional craving and chemical addiction to food.”

Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous, a support group based upon the 12-step principles of Alcoholics Anonymous, characterizes its members as individuals who have experienced difficulties in their lives because of their obsession with food and their inability to control their eating habits. According to a questionnaire on the FA website, the following signs would indicate that a person is suffering from a food addiction:

  • Wanting to stop eating, but being unable to do so.
  • Overeating (or bingeing), often followed by attempts to purge via vomiting, laxatives, or excessive exercise.
  • Thinking or talking about food (or one’s weight) constantly.
  • Eating to escape from negative feelings.
  • Eating in secret, or eating differently in private than in front of others.
  • Stealing other people’s food or hiding food to be sure that a ready supply is always available.
  • Feeling ashamed of one’s weight and/or feeling helpless about one’s relationship with food.

Overeaters Anonymous, another food-related 12-step recovery support program, offers a similar list, with “looking forward with pleasure and anticipation to the time when you can eat alone” as one of several signs of potential food addiction.

How to treat your food addiction?

When a person is addicted it results in the reduced quality of life, not only for them but also to their friends and family. Some food-addicted individuals opt for AA-type 12-step recovery support groups, while others have found success through residential treatment programs or individual therapy.

Regardless of the approach, most treatments for food addiction aim for outcomes similar to the following:

  • Identifying and trying to be away from those triggers which induce the person to get addicted again
  • It is necessary to treat any physical disorders that are responsible for addiction
  • Changing to a healthy diet and exercise plan
  • Trying to maintain the appropriate BMI
  • To design a strategy in order to address the daily challenges of those who have recovered from addiction
  • After recovery groups should be created in order to avoid relapse

Ultimately, treatment for food addiction aims to allow the addicted individual to regain control of his life. Though she was writing about overcoming her addiction to alcohol and drugs, Christina Thompson could have been expressing the emotions of a recovering food addict when she posted the following reflection on the Faces and Voices of Recovery website: “I no longer do the things I used to do when I was obsessed with the getting and using and finding ways and means to get more. I have learned respect for myself and to respect others. … I am genuinely loving to my family and contribute to society by helping others who are like me and find a new way of life.”

Find a way to recovery

So if you or your loved one is struggling with binge eating disorder or food addiction kindly visit rehab centers in houston or any other place that makes you stay healthy and live a happy lifestyle

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