- Posted October 7, 2013 by
Food Addiction - Symptoms, Types and Treatment
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. There are ways to combat food addiction, especially with healthy recipes. Check out below the overall view of food addiction, from symptoms, types and treatment for it.
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.
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
Social Symptoms of Food Addiction
Eating behind closed doors to prevent others from seeing what you are eating or how much. Avoiding social interactions because you feel like you cannot be around others due to a lack of ability to control your eating. Avoiding social interactions because you don’t feel like you look good enough or have clothes that fit correctly due to your eating habits. Stealing food from others. Obsessing over food and paying more attention to the food that is being served than to those friends or family members who you will be consuming the food with
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 food
Types of Food Addiction
Binge eating – binge eaters will gorge themselves on large amounts of food such as sweets, salty foods or carbohydrates. They typically eat behind closed doors so that others do not know that they eat so much and they are not always binge eaters. Binge eating is usually an occasional practice and in many cases, this type of food addiction will go unnoticed for many years because the individual will exercise or perform other actions to prevent from gaining excessive amounts of weight that would lead others to discovering their problem.
Anorexia – anorexic individuals will typically limit their food intake in an effort to stay thin no matter what the cost. Many anorexic eaters will only eat once per day or may not even eat everyday and when they do eat, they only eat small portions of certain foods. Many will county how many bites they take or strictly measure the food that they place on their plates in an effort to reduce intake and monitor the amount of food that they consume.
Bulimia – bulimic individuals will eat as much as they want when they want to eat but they will later take extreme measures to prevent from gaining weight as a result of their uncontrolled eating. They may exercise excessively to burn calories or they will take laxatives or diuretics to prevent weight gain. Excessive eating followed by vomiting is another common symptoms of Bulimia.
General Food Addiction – some people are just generally addicted to food and do not take extreme measures to cover their addiction up or to hide the symptoms of their addiction. These people will excessively consume salty foods, sugary foods or other types of foods and such consumption is likely to lead to weight gain, health problems, and other consequences for the individual but despite the consequences, the individual continues to feel a burning desire to continue eating.
More Self Help for Food Addiction
Slowly eliminate trigger foods from your diet.
Replace bad foods with good foods.
Cope with cravings.
Distractions are key.
Treatment for Food Addiction
Scientists are still working to figure out and fully understand every facet of food addiction but there have been some treatments which have proven to be effective at helping people to come out on top of their addiction. Many argue that food addiction is actually more complicated than certain types of drug or alcohol addiction simply because people can refrain from using drugs or alcohol but they cannot completely refrain from eating. This means that for those who do suffer from food addiction, there will always be the presence of food in their lives which can cause potential relapse.
Food addiction treatment typically consists of behavioral therapy, nutrition counseling, education and social support. If an addiction to food is primarily the result of an emotional disorder such as anxiety or depression, psychological counseling and medication to treat the mental illness can often reduce the adverse addiction to food.
Nutritional counseling is often effective at helping those who are addicted to food to at least learn about the foods that are better for them so that they eat healthy. Nutritionists can help those with a food addiction to learn how to cook healthier meals, learn about the foods that they can indulge on and learn about the foods that they can safely eat to make them feel full for longer. Healthy eating habits can become a normal part of everyday life for recovering food addicts with the help of some nutritional counseling, therapy and support.