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Things You Need To Know About Food Addiction

Many people feel that treating food addiction may be more complicated than other kinds of addictions. Alcoholics and drug addicts can completely abstain from drinking alcohol or consuming drugs but people addicted to food still need to eat.

Consumption of high-fat and high-sugar foods brings about changes in behavior and physiology, similar to the changes caused by drug abuse. Food, like drugs and alcohol, triggers the release of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is related to pleasure and thus creates a positive link between food and emotional wellbeing. In the addicted brain, food is seen as a drug used for re-creating pleasure.

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A person with food addiction prefers to eat ?

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Food with high sugar and fat are preferred by food addicts as they increase blood sugar levels and make them feel good and full of energy. Research has shown that digestion of excessive sugars and fats produces opioids as a derivative. This gives a "feel good" effect and is considered to be similar to the "high" experienced by drug addicts.

What are the possible signs of food addiction?

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Food addicts end up eating more than what they planned. They tend to eat food to satisfy the craving, instead of eating when hungry. They prefer certain types of food, namely, those that are high in fats and sugar. The food addicts may go out of the way to obtain foods that they have cravings to eat and sometimes eat to the point of feeling sick or tired.

Food addiction can be due to?

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Food addiction usually begins with an enjoyment of a particular food that gives rise to craving, and finally becomes a mental obsession. Some food addicts have a chemical dependency on certain types of food such as sugary substances and carbohydrates as these food items seem to give them instant energy and sense of well-being. The mental-emotional problem is a cycle of eating food during the times of stress or depression, and then feeling bad about excess eating and then go for eating to overcome the depression.

There is no difference between food addiction and binge eating disorder?

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The term "food addiction" is used to refer to biochemical dependency on food and a person with food addiction craves for a specific food or has an abnormal eating pattern. The term "binge eating disorder" refers to uncontrollable and non-stop eating of food items that are high in carbohydrates and sugar. Both food addiction and binge eating disorder eventually end up in the emotion-food cycle. The person experiences a sequence of physical craving, mental obsession and lack of willpower to withhold the cravings.

Is food addiction different from bulimia nervosa?

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Persons with bulimia nervosa also eat excess food and are addicted to certain types of food. But unlike those with food addiction, they are always worried about the increase in weight due to the excess food they consume. So, they resort to measures like purging, taking laxatives, using ipecac or diuretics to shed off the excess intake of food. They may also resort to excessive physical workout to shed the excess calories. Some bulimics may go into cycles of highly restrictive dieting and overeating.

A food addict needs the same amount of food to be satisfied emotionally or physically?

Correct! Wrong!

The quantity of the food item consumed keeps increasing to give the same amount of satisfaction, as the food addiction progresses. As a result, the food addict keeps consuming more quantities or food items with higher sugar content to get rid of negative emotions or increase pleasurable feelings.

How is Prader-Willi syndrome similar to food addiction?

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Food addiction does not have a genetic basis, although it is known to have run in families, probably due to the eating habits of the family. Prader-Willi syndrome occurs due to the deletion of seven genes on chromosome 15 on the paternal chromosome. An individual with Prader-Willi syndrome has low muscle tone, short stature, cognitive disabilities, behavior problems and incomplete sexual development.

What are the adverse effects of food addiction on the person?

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The result of giving in to the cravings of food in food addiction is excess weight gain and obesity. This in turn, causes other systemic illnesses like hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease. Long-term side-effects of food addiction include kidney or liver disease, bone deterioration, and stroke. The person may also experience major depression as they feel guilty of excessive eating or withdraw from social gatherings or meeting up friends as a result of their worry about being overweight.

Is there a treatment for compulsive overeating due to food addiction?

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Nutritional counseling and assistance have proved effective in the treatment and management of food addiction. Medications involved in the treatment of food addiction include antidepressants, anti-obesity drugs, appetite suppressants, etc. A person with food addiction requires a combination of nutritional counseling, psychotherapy, medications, along with strong will power and peer support, to combat food addiction.

Food addiction is similar to drug and alcohol addiction?

Correct! Wrong!

Research has found some physiological similarities between food addicts and alcohol or drug addicts. Persons with food addition produce opioids as a derivative upon digestion of excessive volumes of fats and sugars. Opioid a chemically active ingredient found in cocaine, heroin, and other narcotics, responsible for causing addiction. A sample of persons with food addiction, who ate food high in carbohydrates and were not addicted to drug or alcohol, had the same D2 dopamine gene marker as found in persons who were addicted to drugs or alcohol.

Food addiction
Consumption of high-fat and high-sugar foods brings about changes in behavior and physiology, similar to the changes caused by drug abuse. Food, like drugs and alcohol, triggers the release of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is related to pleasure and thus creates a positive link between food and emotional wellbeing. In the addicted brain, food is seen as a drug used for re-creating pleasure.

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