Try To Identify And Avoid Triggers
Try to find out what prompts your compulsive behavior or substance use.
Maybe you reach for a drink only when youre with particular friends or at a specific restaurant or bar. Perhaps you crave the excitement of gambling only when youre bored or stressed.
Preventing recurrence of use or behaviors by being aware of the places, people, or emotions that act as triggers could be an essential part of your recovery.
Prolonged use of substances could change the brains function and structure. It could affect parts of the brain responsible for:
Experts believe that continued abstinence from substance use might give the brain the time it needs to recover from those changes and return to its regular function. Frequent use recurrences, on the other hand, might make recovery take longer.
Once youve identified the causes or prompts of your substance use or compulsive behavior, consider developing a plan to manage them and practice avoidance.
Plan Out Positive Changes
Motivation: Activating Your Desire To Quit
The simplest answer to the question When do people change? is When they want to. No amount of science, therapy, and brain scans is ever going to change this truth.
3.1. The Role of Motivation in Change
AA considers willpower to be utterly ineffective. The idea that people have the commitment and power to be able to change on their own is anathema to the group. Yet what is it, if not willpower or motivation, that makes some people join, stay with, and succeed in AA?
Wanting, seeking, and believing that you can change do not necessarily translate into immediate success. The fact that Uncle Ozzie could do it in one shot does not mean that you will do it that way. It is much more common for people to make several attempts before successfully quitting their addictions. Indeed, this persistence is a sign that you really want to quit.
It is true that repeated failures are demoralizing and may signify that you need to try something new. It can also mean that you have simply not been in the right place in your life to change, and that you need to do more groundwork. The Life Process Program can help you begin to lay that groundwork.
3.2. Stages of Change
Stages of Change
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Therapies For Food Addiction
Therapy for food addiction or binge eating disorder helps a person reduce the frequency of binge behavior, lose weight, and address psychological issues related to the addiction. Therapies for food addiction may be offered on an inpatient or outpatient basis and include the following:3
- Cognitive behavioral therapy : CBT techniques teach people trying to overcome food addiction how thoughts and feelings can impact behavior. This therapeutic approach typically focuses on moderation rather than avoidance or abstinence from foods. It teaches coping skills and relapse prevention techniques, and identifying triggers for addictive behavior.
Tips For Overcoming Food Addiction
Food addiction recovery will take a lot of willpower and sacrifice to overcome. It may take weeks or months, but you have to believe in yourself to overcome it. Everybody has different food cravings, and breaking a food addiction is going to be different for everyone. But here are some tips you can start with:
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Visit A Support Group
A 2016 study shows that peer-delivered support groups, including 12-step programs, could be helpful when in recovery from addiction.
These groups are designed to help you stay sober through mutual support provided by people who are also in recovery.
Though helpful, 12-step programs arent for everyone. If they arent the right fit for you, consider searching for recovery support groups near you.
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.
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How To Get Rid Of Junk Food Addiction Step : Distance Yourself From Junk Food
When you have a junk food craving, attempt to keep it at bay.
You may, for example, go for a quick walk or take a shower to distract yourself. A shift in mindset and surroundings can help you not to give in to your cravings.
Chewing gum has also been demonstrated in several trials to help reduce hunger and cravings.
Which Drugs Are Hardest To Quit
Some substances are notoriously addictive and, some drugs may be harder to quit than others. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that some of the most commonly used addictive substances include marijuana, synthetic marijuana , prescription opioids, prescription stimulants , sedatives, tranquilizers, and hypnotics.6
Overcoming addiction is possible but it often requires a combination of approaches to achieve the best outcome. Treatment may include:10,11
Remember that, if you are suffering from a drug overdose, be sure to call 911 immediately or make your way to the nearest physician.
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What Causes Food Addiction
Consuming highly palatable foods, or foods that are high in carbohydrates, fat, salt, sugar, or artificial sweeteners, triggers the pleasure centers of the brain and releases feel-good chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin. These foods affect the same area of the brain as drugs, alcohol, and behaviors such as shopping or gambling.
Highly palatable foods often contain unnatural substances or higher-than-normal levels of natural substances that your body and brain can’t process. This results in your body being flooded with feel-good chemicals.
To help you hang on to or recreate those good feelings, your body and brain will begin to crave highly palatable foods. And, because your brain will adjust its receptors to compensate for the rush of chemicals, you’ll eventually need to consume increasing quantities of highly palatable foods to get the same feel-good reaction.
The Science Of Sugar Addiction
Since sugar is by far the most addictive food type, it makes sense to cover the science behind sugar addiction.
The biochemical underpinning for sugar addiction can be explained in four simple steps:
- Step 1 An increase in blood sugar forces the pancreas to secrete insulin. The insulin breaks down sugar so blood sugar levels drop
- Step 2 When blood sugar levels drop, a signal is sent to the brain telling it blood sugar levels need to rise
- Step 3 The brain releases hormones that cause cravings for sugar. The person also feels weak and slightly agitated
- Step 4 The sugar addict then binges on sugary items in order to satisfy these cravings
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Do You Have A Food Addiction
All addictions share similar behavioural symptoms. It is not a lack of willpower that keeps people using their drug of choice no one wants to be an alcoholic or drug addict, nor does anyone want to be obese and addicted to food.
The following questions can help you determine if you have a problematic relationship with food:
If you answer a resounding yes to more than half of these questions you probably struggle with an addiction to food.
Not surprisingly, those in addiction recovery are more susceptible to becoming addicted to food. Replacing one addiction with another is not uncommon, and those formerly suffering from drug addiction may find they begin to use foods addictively.
How To Overcome Food Addiction: Learning To Eat For Strength
Food addiction can be a unique condition in that it often is best treated through multiple therapy modalities-including modalities not directly related to psychology and psychotherapy. Eating therapy, nutritional therapy, and medical evaluation can all play a role in the journey to overcoming food addiction, as there may be far more than one factor at play. There are distinct physiological responses that occur when an individual overeats, restricts food, or eats food in response to stress or overwhelm, and working through these patterns can help improve the likelihood of overcoming food addiction.F
Perhaps one of the greatest aids in shifting attitudes about food, food addiction, and behaviors toward food is the understanding that food is not a reward or punishment. Food is not to be withheld from the naughty and heaped upon the worthy. Food is quite literally the fuel the body relies upon to function day in and day out and plays a role as critical to existence as air. Unlike many other addictive substances, food is not illicit, or inherently damaging it is life-giving and life-sustaining. Overcoming food addiction and learning to eat for strength, involves multiple angles. These include:
Healing from Food Addiction
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How To Overcome Food Addiction
The effects of certain foods on the brain make it hard for some people to avoid them.
Food addiction operates similarly to other addictions, which explains why some people cant control themselves around certain foods no matter how hard they try.
Despite not wanting to, they may repeatedly find themselves eating large amounts of unhealthy foods knowing that doing so may cause harm.
This article examines food addiction and provides tips to overcome it.
Food addiction is an addiction to junk food and comparable to drug addiction.
Its a relatively new and controversial term, and high quality statistics on its prevalence are lacking .
Food addiction is similar to several other disorders, including binge eating disorder, bulimia, compulsive overeating, and other feeding and eating disorders.
Food addiction is a highly controversial concept, though most studies suggest it exists. It works similarly to drug addiction.
Processed junk foods have a powerful effect on the reward centers of the brain. These effects are caused by brain neurotransmitters like dopamine .
Food addiction is not caused by a lack of willpower but believed to be caused by a dopamine signal that affects the biochemistry of the brain .
Food addiction is thought to involve the same neurotransmitters and areas of the brain as drug addiction.
How To Stop Eating Out And Cook At Home Instead
When we go out to eat, we order the same things again and again.
Instead of going to Olive Garden for soup and breadsticks, I looked up copycat recipes to make at home instead.
Check out the ratings and read reviews before you waste your time on a subpar recipe.
I didnt want a really good minestrone recipe I wanted one that tasted exactly like the soup I get at Olive Garden.
Once I found one, we havent gone back. Instead, I made multiple batches to keep in the freezer so I literally have no excuse.
Be honest about your excuses and find solutions.
For us, it always came down to time and convenience.
It was so much easier to order food after a long day at home with young kids rather than tripping over them to make dinner while my husband was on his way home from work.
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Tip #: Invest In Your Knowledge Of Healthy Eating
This is my #1 tip for losing weight and eating more healthy.
Clever tricks to cut down on the amount of food you eat is not as effective as learning about low carb, low calories and high nutrient eating.
Ive just waded through my personal collection of books on healthy eating and Ive included links below where you can purchase these books:
- Grains and Mains by Laura Wilson. This book is my absolute favourite. It includes many recipes for ancient grains such as millet, buckwheat, faro and pear barley
- 100 Best Gluten Free Foods by Love Food Editors
If youre looking for addiction recovery books, check out our guide on the best books on addiction recovery »
Mental Hack #: Become Your Own Coach
Anyone with a chronic health problem has quickly learned that they need to become their own expert.
Beyond just learning everything on the subject, you need to understand your own vulnerabilities, and start experimenting.
Its almost impossible to really come up with a perfect diet for every person, or a perfect system for every person which is why experimentation is so important.
For example, if you know that certain foods make you over eat every time you know you have a personal kryptonite and you should stay away from them.
So how specifically do you experiment and become your own expert?
Use something that I call definitive documents.
Ive unfortunately had a number of various health problems in my life that were chronic and very difficult to solve by western doctors. Usually there were many pieces to the puzzle, and I was left experimenting on my own.
For many of you this will be the same case. Over the years, I found myself creating these word documents called definitive documents where I could document every piece of the puzzle I was trying to solve:
Sample definitive document when I had sleep issues
What do you write in them? Everything you know.
For emotional eaters and people that are addicted to food, keep track of the following things:
We all need to become our own expert, particularly if we have a long-standing chronic problem often there are many, many interconnected pieces that one person cannot give you.
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Overeating Is Not Your Fault: How The Food Industry Makes You Eat More Than You Think
All of this has been processed such that you can wolf it down fast . . . chopped up and made ultra-palatable . . . Very appealing looking, very high pleasure in the food, very high caloric density. Rules out all that stuff you have to chew. When youre eating these things, youve had 500, 600, 800, 900 calories before you know it. Literally, before you know it.
-A food consultant, when asked whats the deal with food found in most restaurant chains
When we see food we like, or see something that reminds us of food we like, the brain immediately releases dopamine which starts that craving process. And once we get that food in our mouth, it again releases even more dopamine.
Ordinarily, after we eat the same food over and over, habituation sets in, dopamine levels decline, and the food loses some of its capacity to get us high again. But, interestingly enough, cocaine dont cause the brain to curb its dopamine response at all.
Cocaine will not result in habituation so a person who uses it will continue to release dopamine, almost at the same amount as the initial level.
Interestingly, after feeding rats a high-sugar, high-fat chocolate drink for a period of time, the dopamine response did not diminish. There was no habituation.
There are a few main ways that smart food marketers are having you eat a lot more than you think:
Processing is one of the ways that the food industry sneakily makes you eat more.
Win The Battle Because You Can
Overcoming food addiction can be a long, painful process. You have to take it meal-by-meal, and day-by-day. But theres hope. You can do it. And your attitude is a critical part of the battle. Know you can do it. And then start taking small actions and building on them.
Bookmark this article as a reminder of the science behind food addictions, how they occur, and a step-by-step guide to overcoming them. Start by identifying triggers and then make healthy substitutions. Soon you will have the power to say no to your cravings. Because you will have discovered healthy alternatives you enjoy and youll also understand the dangerous path quick-fix foods can present.
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