Eating Disorders And Eating Addiction
Most people think of eating disorders as those which prevent individuals from eating because they are afraid to gain weight, like anorexia nervosa. But according to the NLM, binge-eating disorder can be described as out-of-control eating. This can sometimes be connected with an addiction to eating where a person is unable to stop even though they may want to.
But eating addiction doesnt always go along with formally acknowledged types of eating disorders. Feeling that your addiction to eating has taken over your life will help you to admit that treatment could be the answer. But the first thing you must do is admit that you have a problem.
Therapy For Exercise Addiction
Cognitive behavioral therapy can help a person understand their problematic behaviors, recognize specific triggers and develop skills to replace those behaviors with healthier ones. An initial assessment with an experienced mental health professional allows a person to find the best treatment for their needs.
Clients can also benefit from family or group therapy. Family therapy allows the person with the addiction to express their thoughts to their family or loved ones. The family may also express how the condition affects them as well. The inclusion of family members in therapy session can help the person in treatment realize that they have support in overcoming addiction.
Group therapy with other people who are experiencing similar struggles with exercise addiction may also bring a new outlook to their situation. Group-based therapy can help people learn methods of self-awareness from other participants in the group.
Although it is rare, some severe cases of this addiction may require inpatient treatment. These cases usually involve severe malnutrition from co-occurring eating disorders. While inpatient or residential treatment may involve time off from exercise while the person learns to manage their condition, they can learn how to reshape their relationship with exercise in a healthy manner through treatment.
Other Articles About Food Addiction
- Eating disorders are often co-morbid conditions, meaning they can commonly occur with other mental or behavioral conditions. For example, some individuals with eating disorders may also struggle with substance abuse, such as alcoholism or an addiction to drugs.
Last Reviewed and Updated By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on May 12, 2017
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Nutrition Exercise And Sleep
This is a brief section about why nutrition, exercise, and sleep is critical to your success in this guide.
Your diet plays a role in how you feel every day regardless of any addiction. Those who overeat, undereat, eat too much sugar, too many processed foods, too much soda, will not be performing at their peak. I want you to perform at your peak so that you can fully recover from your addiction.
If you stop porn but eat crappy food then youll still have brain fog and lethargy. Your body will convince you that quitting porn is not helping your mental state. When it comes to exercise, your body needs to move and this is really important for improving your sexual abilities as well, especially if you suffer from erectile dysfunction disorder or female sexual dysfunction. You need to get the blood flowing through your veins and combined with a good diet you are going to notice a significant lifestyle change. And last, sleep. Sleep is when your brain repairs itself and without sleep youll experience much of what we just talked about: lethargy, brain fog, and so on. These three concepts are crucial to your recovery and thats why I have an entire chapters dedicated to each. Even if you feel you eat well, exercise, and get enough sleep, please dont skip any part of this guide.
Extra Resources and Readings
What Is Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder
Avoidant restrictive food intake disorder , previously known as selective eating disorder, is a condition where people limit the amount or type of food eaten. Unlike anorexia nervosa, people with ARFID do not have a distorted body image or extreme fear of gaining weight. ARFID is most common in middle childhood and usually has an earlier onset than other eating disorders. Many children go through phases of picky eating, but a child with ARFID does not eat enough calories to grow and develop properly, and an adult with ARFID does not eat enough calories to maintain basic body function.
Symptoms of ARFID include:
- Dramatic restriction of types or amount of food eaten
- Lack of appetite or interest in food
- Dramatic weight loss
- Upset stomach, abdominal pain, or other gastrointestinal issues with no other known cause
- Limited range of preferred foods that becomes even more limited
Food Addiction Treatment And Therapy
At Priory, our addictions specialists understand that seeking help for your food addiction can be overwhelming. Thats why our addiction experts offer a free initial addiction assessment, enabling you to discuss your food addiction in a safe, supportive and highly compassionate environment.
Following your initial addiction assessment, your comprehensive and bespoke food addiction treatment plan will be developed by our expert multidisciplinary team. Your treatment plan will be personally tailored in order to ensure that the unique nature of your food addiction, as well as any underlying triggers or causes for your addictive behaviours, are addressed in an individualised manner, thus fostering the most positive outcomes for you.
The therapy that you will receive during food addiction treatment at Priory, will typically consist of a bespoke combination of therapeutic methods in order to address your unique addiction and facilitate recovery. Food addiction therapy may include:
Priory deliver expert addiction treatment and rehabilitation. To find out how we can help you to get your life back on track, call us today on 0800 144 8969 or enquire online. Book your FREE ADDICTION ASSESSMENT.
Help For Food Addiction
Science is still working to understand and find treatments for food addiction.
Some argue that recovery from food addiction may be more complicated than recovery from other kinds of addictions. Alcoholics, for example, can ultimately abstain from drinking alcohol. But people who are addicted to food still need to eat.
A nutritionist, psychologist, or doctor who is educated about food addiction may be able to help you break the cycle of compulsive overeating.
There are also a growing number of programs that help people who are addicted to food. Some, like Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous, are based on the 12-step program that has helped many people addicted to alcohol, drugs, or gambling.
Others, like Food Addicts Anonymous, use the principles of the 12-step program along with strict diets that advise people to abstain from problem ingredients, like sugar, refined flour, and wheat.Ã
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How Does It Start
In some cases, people simply overeat out of mindless habit, like always sitting down with a bag of chips in front of the TV at night. But oftentimes, itâs the result of underlying emotional problems. Having a negative body image can play a big role.
For many people, compulsive overeating is part of a cycle that starts with a restrictive diet. May calls it the âeat, repent, repeatâ cycle. You might begin a diet because you feel bad about your weight or size but find that itâs too hard to stick to — especially if you use food as a coping tool. Eventually, you hit a breaking point and binge on âforbiddenâ foods, and then the guilt and shame set in, and the restrictions begin again.
The cycle can be hard to break. âEven people who say theyâre not on a diet often have ingrained ideas about âgoodâ or âbadâ foods,â says Marsha Hudnall, president of Green Mountain at Fox Run in Vermont, a center for women who struggle with overeating. âBut when you have a substance that is naturally appealing and soothing and comforting, and you make it off-limits, it just becomes more attractive.â
Support Groups And 12
Support groups and 12-step programs help people work on overcoming food addiction. Many of the 12-step programs available use the same 12-step approach developed by Alcoholics Anonymous, where participants work through the steps with the help of a sponsor.
Some of the common 12-step programs for food addiction include:
- Food Addicts Anonymous:Food Addicts Anonymous believes that food addiction cannot be cured by willpower or therapy alone and is a biochemical disorder rather than a moral or character issue. They approach food addiction recovery by abstaining from addictive foods, following a nutrition plan, and working through the traditional steps.
- Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous: Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous is an international fellowship for those who have experienced problems with food and eating. Their path to recovery follows the traditional steps among the mutual support of others recovering from food addiction.
- Overeaters Anonymous: Overeaters Anonymous is a fellowship of people who are in recovery from compulsive eating. Their goal is to abstain from compulsive eating and food behaviors through mutual support, shared experience, strength, and hope.
- Compulsive Eaters Anonymous: Compulsive Eaters Anonymous is designed for anyone seeking recovery from compulsive eating. The meetings use a structured, disciplined approach to recovery by accepting and carrying out each of the steps among the support of peers.
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The Psychology Of Food Addiction
Your psychological relationship with food is based on how you think about and behave around food. When you have a food addiction, you lose control over the types and amounts of food you eat. You become dependent on the feel-good effect that certain foods have on you, even though the good feelings dont last.
Heres what it doesnt mean to be a food addict: It doesnt mean you have an eating disorder. Food addiction has never been classified as a true eating disorder, like anorexia or bulimia. But while food addicts may not have a diagnosed eating disorder, they certainly show signs of having an unhealthy relationship with food.
The American Society of Addiction Medicine defines addiction as a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry. Additionally, dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations in a pathological state in which an individual pursues reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors. The terms food addiction and food addict were coined because the behavior of a food addict resembles that of an alcoholic, drug abuser, or gambler, all recognized addictions.
Its A Serious Problem
Though the term addiction is often thrown around lightly, having a true addiction is a serious condition that typically requires treatment to overcome.
The symptoms and thought processes associated with food addiction are similar to those of drug abuse. Its just a different substance, and the social consequences may be less severe.
Food addiction can cause physical harm and lead to chronic health conditions like obesity and type 2 diabetes .
In addition, it may negatively impact a persons self-esteem and self-image, making them unhappy with their body.
As with other addictions, food addiction may take an emotional toll and increase a persons risk of premature death.
Food addiction increases the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Excessive weight may also affect a persons self-esteem.
Completely avoiding junk foods may seem impossible. Theyre everywhere and a major part of modern culture.
However, in some cases, entirely abstaining from certain trigger foods can become necessary.
Once the firm decision to never eat these foods again is made, avoiding them may become easier, as the need to justify eating or not eating them is eliminated. Cravings may also disappear or decrease significantly.
Consider writing a list of pros and cons to think through the decision.
Write everything down no matter how peculiar or vain it may seem. Then compare the two lists and ask if its worth it.
If the answer is a resounding yes, be assured that its the right decision.
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A Definition Of Terms
We need to set the table for discussion on food addiction by defining two very important terms: binge eating disorder and compulsive eating. The two are very different in a number of important ways.
Binge eating disorder is a medically recognised disorder that is characterised by excessive eating over long periods of time. Perhaps the term binge is not the best choice given that we associate binge drinking with consuming too much alcohol in a short amount of time whether it occurs over weeks or months. Nonetheless, the chosen term has been officially adopted for clinical purposes.
A person who suffers from the disorder will typically demonstrate the following symptoms:
- Compulsions to eat when not physically hungry
- Routinely eating past the point of feeling full
- Routinely eating more quickly than others
- A tendency to try and keep eating habits a secret
- Feelings of guilt after eating episodes
- Persistent feelings that one is abnormal
- Persistent feelings that food is taking over ones life
- Routinely attempting to compensate for overeating through dieting or purging.
People suffering from binge eating disorder often mention not having the ability to restrain themselves from eating. They eat because their bodies and minds crave food at a level that would otherwise be deemed irrational.
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Getting To Know More About Food Addiction
Food addiction is marked by an uncontrollable impulsive and compulsive desire to eat regardless of its adverse effects. Like other addictions, there is intense and incessant craving for certain foods, a withdrawal phase together with a negative affect, and the development of tolerance.
It is believed that the disorder has both behavioural and neurobiological basis. In an individual prone to addiction, eating certain foods trigger the release of dopamine, the feel-good brain chemical. A change in the brains reward circuit occurs in these people and they get the compulsive need to seek and eat the foods they have in mind.
The eating goes over and beyond the bodys energy requirement, which is why most people addicted to food are obese. The individual may be aware of the harmful consequences, such as considerable weight gain and increased risk for certain diseases as well as reduced aesthetics.
How To Use Fasting To Break Addiction
There is a way to use fasting to assist you in breaking your addictions. Whether your addictions are a physical or mental addiction, fasting can be used to help break the addiction cycle and set you on a different path.
Addiction is a serious illness where we become unable to control our impulses. This can relate to certain substances, actions or media. Not all addictions are bad however, an example could include an addiction to exercising.
As long as you dont over do it of course! Some examples of negative addiction could include:
- Substances such as unhealthy foods, illicit substances, or alcohol
- Actions such as poor sleep cycles, physical fighting, or sexual intercourse
- Media such as video gaming, phone use, or watching TV
While the above are negative, some may view controlled use of the above as being OK depending on their personal circumstances. Watching your favorite TV show a few times a week may not be a big issue to some. While some may see drinking a glass of wine every night as being acceptable.
It does come down to your personal view of your life, and your values systems. Personally, I dont see an issue with a glass of alcohol after dinner at night.
But I can see that using my phone excessively is negative as it distracts me from doing something more productive with my time.
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Signs Of Food Addiction
Researchers at Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Science & Policy have developed a questionnaire to identify people with food addictions.
Here’s a sample of questions that can help determine if you have a food addiction. 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
The questionnaire also asks about 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.
The questionnaire asks about psychological withdrawal symptoms. For example, when you cut down on certain foods , do you have symptoms such as:
- Other physical symptoms
The questionnaire also tries to gauge the impact of food decisions on your emotions. Do these situations apply to you?