Food Addiction is Real and Treatable

We all know that you can be addicted to such classic vices as cigarettes and alcohol. Not all of us think that we could be addicted to food, which is all around us and is so essential to our existence.

Food addiction is more than just simply overeating. Can someone be obsessed with food to the point of physically needing that next cupcake like the alcoholic needing her next sip of bourbon? The controversial idea has recently been addressed in a medical journal.

The Case for Recognized Designation of Food Addiction

A recent article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal makes the case for the real possibility of addiction to food. The Canadian Medical Association states that food addiction should have a psychiatric disorder designation so that it could officially and effectively be recognized treated.

The authors of the journal argue that food addicts develop a tolerance to food and that the brain chemicals that are released when they eat need increasing amounts of food in order to get the “high” previously obtained through lower “doses”. This is similar to how heroin addicts need more and more heroin to achieve the same effect as before.  Just like the heroin addict, food “abusers” have withdrawal symptoms as well and when they go on diets, they could suffer from mood changes and depression.

Signs of Food Addiction

Many who feel they have a food addiction constantly have food on their mind, from the moment they wake up and have breakfast. They report thinking about their next meal immediately after their breakfast ends and evaluate their day by how big their meals were. Many fight with weight gain and fluctuations since childhood. Some feel that certain ingredients, such as sugar and flour, are triggers and can set off cravings. For example, with one taste of a cookie or potato chip, they could lose control from their urge for more and have to drop concentration on other activities they may have been doing, such as watching TV or reading a book, in order to continually eat.

Obsessing over food and uncontrollable eating may be signs of a food addiction, says expert Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, who is the director and founder of the Bariatric Medical Institute in Ottawa. He sites the struggling of dietary choices from the time you wake up to when you sleep as further signals. It could be a symptom of an eating disorder if it only occurs in certain times, such as afternoons, evenings, or lunch.

The problem could persist even if someone has surgery to shrink their stomach.  Forcing someone to eat less may make them obsess over food more and could cause them to eventually develop bulimia. They could vomit food so that they could eat the same amount as before the surgery. This could be because their stomach changed, but their brain patterns concerning food did not and could be seen as a symptom of food addiction.

There is Help for Eating Disorders and Addiction

Just like there is an Alcoholics Anonymous, there is now a support group called Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous. Those who have a true food addiction could be small in number, but that does not mean that the condition is not real.  It could be unfair to blame the over eater or the truly food-obsessed for their condition when they could have a genuine condition. The biological evidence and emotional triggers do exist. If you feel that you or someone you know and love has a problem with food and would like help, please give us a call to discuss the Victorian for Eating Disorder Treatment. Our medical specialists will answer all of your questions about food addiction.