Is Food Addiction The Same As Other Substance Addictions
Addiction, in the context of alcohol or drugs, implies a physical dependence on a substance. This includes withdrawal symptoms, physical symptoms, tolerance and intense cravings.
Medically, there is a difference between physical dependence and psychological dependence .
In some ways, food or sugar addiction is not the same as drug addiction.
- We all experience cravings , yet they generally occur later in the day vs earlier as they would in a drug addiction withdrawal .
- Children like intensely sweet tastes, which generally declines in adolescence, which is the opposite of tolerance.
- Binge eaters who restrict foods often experience a reduction in cravings after a period of time of allowing those “forbidden foods.”
Compulsive eating develops in response to social or psychological factors.
People become dependent on the process that happens the good, soothing feelings and pleasure that go along with eating rather than to the food itself.
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.
What Mike Ate Before Keto
I fell into a life of living to eat,I didnt let any craving go unsatisfied.
He ate fast food for breakfast: sandwiches, donuts, and coffee with sugar. Although he brought a home-cooked lunch to his work as an office manager, he would also go to Burger King for a second lunch.
After work, hed drive to Wendys and order four or five cheeseburgers, and when he came home, he would have foods like lasagna, pasta, roast chicken, and vegetables. Then hed eat snacks and desserts for the rest of the evening until he went to bed.
Thats a lot of food. A few years later, Mikes keto coach Jonathan Shane asked him to calculate the amount he was eating at the time. I stopped counting when it hit 25,000 calories per day, Mike said.
Recommended Reading: Why Are Drug Addicts So Selfish
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
Seek Professional Treatment Programmes
Professional treatment facilities for alcohol or drug rehab also manage individuals with food addiction. Options for treatment are inpatient and outpatient programs.
As with other forms of substance abuse, the inpatient treatment has better recovery rates for the person. The outpatient program is suited for milder addictions and people who have to continue with their routines in daily life, like going to work.
The advantages of doing substance rehab in a professional rehabilitation and recovery centre are manifold. They include:
- Focused and round the clock supervision and monitoring
- Scheduled and measured healthy meals to reduce the need for binge eating
- Medical specialists and trained counsellors for one on one and group sessions
- Medically assisted management of withdrawal symptoms
- Peer support
You May Like: How To Tell If You Are Addicted To Nicotine
Are You Addicted To Food
- Do you feel an out of control pull towards your favorite foods? Perhaps these are sugary processed foods and you feel you have no willpower when they are near you.
- Have you heard about food addiction and thought, thats me! Im addicted to sugar!
- Do you feel obsessed with food constantly thinking about your next snack or meal?
- Do you often feel tired or sluggish from eating?
- If certain foods are not available do you go out of your way to get them?
- Do you eat certain foods until you feel physically ill?
If you answered yes, you may have symptoms of food addiction. You may feel addicted to food that is highly processed, craving more despite negative consequences such as physical discomfort, or not engaging in other activities you enjoy.
Theres a reason you feel this way.
Some research suggests that the combination of highly palatable carbohydrates and fat floods the brain with feel-good chemicals similar to the way it does with other addictive substances.
Therapy for food addiction can help you break free.
Tips In Overcoming Food Addiction
For food addiction recovery, it will take a lot of willpower and sacrifice to overcome it. It may take weeks or months, but you have to believe in yourself to overcome this. Everybody has different food cravings, and breaking food addiction is going to be different for everybody. But here are some tips you can start with:
Recommended Reading: How Easy Is It To Get Addicted To Alcohol
Food Addiction Recovery Options
Recovery from food addiction is different from recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction in one simple way. You cannot simply refrain from eating all together as a part of your recovery. Humans need to eat to live, so there has to be some form of behavioral change. One thing is certain. Food addiction is a problem that is unlikely to be solved without help.
There are several food addiction recovery options available if you or a loved are suffering from this eating disorder. Treatment for food addiction includes therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy , nutritional therapies, and group support. Contact us to learn more about our food addiction recovery program or to discuss admission options.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider. View our editorial policy or view our research.
Online Therapy Can Also Help With Food Addiction
There are many ways to get help for food addiction. If you are struggling with food addiction, dont hesitate to reach out for help. You can overcome your addiction and lose weight. Most importantly, you can learn to heal the deeper imbalances contributing to compulsive eating and emerge more whole, confident, and deeply connected to yourself.
You deserve nothing less! Contact us for more information about how we can help or participate in our make peace with food program.
Don’t Miss: What Is The Most Addictive Thing In The World
What Should I Do If I Think I Have A Food Addiction
What you should do really depends on how serious the problem is and how much it is affecting your daily life, your physical and emotional health, and whether it is interfering in the quality of your life. If you are suffering serious consequences, such as depression, anxiety or panic attacks, morbid obesity, Type II Diabetes, and/or other medical and emotional problems, it is best to seek help from a trained professional.
How Does It Work
Food addiction hijacks your brains reward system in the same way as other addictions.
Studies reveal that high-fat, high-sugar, processed foods affect the brain in the same way as drugs such as heroin and cocaine. These foods affect neurotransmitters such as dopamine in the brain eating these foods makes us feel good temporarily and crave more.
Foods that are high in refined sugar, wheat, or salt or a factory developed combination of all three ingredients to create a highly palatable food are the most problematic when it comes to addiction. Most of todays junk foods are designed to be as addictive as possible, which keeps people coming back for more .
Don’t Miss: Is Ativan Addictive In Small Doses
Intended Treatment Outcome & Timeline
It is important to realize that food addiction is a lifelong condition. That said, one must be motivated to change for initial progress and maintenance to occur. The more motivated one is to change, the greater likelihood of recovery. Timelines are expected to vary from one individual to the next, but a general consensus is the longer one has been addicted to food, the longer the recovery process. It is extremely difficult to unlearn a lifetime of maladaptive beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors in a month or two. It takes time. Those who initially had healthy habits but progressed into food addiction may recover more quickly but still require the same motivation and effort.
The Science Behind Food Addiction
Food addiction, as mentioned earlier, is thought to be similar to drug addiction. What is the science behind this? It was found that the neurotransmitters in the brain affected in persons with a substance abuse disorder are the same neurotransmitters affected in people with food addiction.
Processed foods have negative effects on the reward centers of the brain. These effects are the responsibility of the neurotransmitter called dopamine. Food addiction is a combination of lacking the willpower to control oneself to eat junk foods and the dopamine process in the brain.
You May Like: What Is The Best Treatment For Opiate Addiction
First Steps In Overcoming Food Addiction
A few things can help prepare for giving up junk foods and make the transition easier:
- Trigger foods. Write down a list of the foods that cause cravings and/or binges. These are the trigger foods to avoid completely.
- Fast food places. Make a list of fast food places that serve healthy foods and note their healthy options. This may prevent a relapse when hungry and not in the mood to cook.
- What to eat. Think about what foods to eat preferably healthy foods that are liked and already eaten regularly.
- Pros and cons. Consider making several copies of the pro-and-con list. Keep a copy in the kitchen, glove compartment, and purse or wallet.
Additionally, dont go on a diet. Put weight loss on hold for at least 13 months.
Overcoming food addiction is difficult enough. Adding hunger and restrictions to the mix is likely to make things harder.
After taking these preparatory steps, set a date in the near future like the coming weekend from which point onward the addictive trigger foods wont be touched again.
To overcome food addiction, its important to plan. Make a list of trigger foods and know what is going to be eaten instead.
How To Treat Food Addiction With At
Reading Time: 3minutes
According to VA, Although there is not an answer right now if food can be as addictive as alcohol or cocaine, some people are unable to control how much they eat. Food addictions truly do plague many people, and it can be very difficult for them to stop eating, even when they want to.
There are support group programs like OA and other types of behavioral therapy that a person can attend in order to change the way they think about food. But there are also at-home habit changes you can make that will go a long way in helping you treat your food addiction.
Recommended Reading: How To Withdraw From Tramadol Addiction
Is Treatment Different For Criminal Justice Populations
Scientific research since the mid-1970s shows that drug abuse treatment can help many drug-using offenders change their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors towards drug abuse avoid relapse and successfully remove themselves from a life of substance abuse and crime. Many of the principles of treating drug addiction are similar for people within the criminal justice system as for those in the general population. However, many offenders dont have access to the types of services they need. Treatment that is of poor quality or is not well suited to the needs of offenders may not be effective at reducing drug use and criminal behavior.
In addition to the general principles of treatment, some considerations specific to offenders include the following:
- Treatment should include development of specific cognitive skills to help the offender adjust attitudes and beliefs that lead to drug abuse and crime, such as feeling entitled to have things ones own way or not understanding the consequences of ones behavior. This includes skills related to thinking, understanding, learning, and remembering.
- Treatment planning should include tailored services within the correctional facility as well as transition to community-based treatment after release.
- Ongoing coordination between treatment providers and courts or parole and probation officers is important in addressing the complex needs of offenders re-entering society.
Maybe I Can Treat This By Myself
Again, just like with Binge Eating Disorder, you may be able to treat this by yourself. The odds are if you are still reading this, you probably have been struggling with this issue for a very long time, perhaps a lifetime of sugar and flour addiction. This is a difficult problem to treat, since food is always around us, everywhere we turn. We tell alcoholics not to drink and not to go to bars we tell drug addicts to abstain from all drugs at all times, but we cant tell food addicts not to eat food. However, we can learn how to abstain from our trigger foods.
There are a variety of treatments, food plans, and solutions available, and I will be happy to discuss the research, the coping methods, resources online and off, and how to deal with the saboteurs in your life. We can also discuss how individual or group counseling may provide guidance, knowledge and support.
Read Also: How To Stop Cigarette Addiction
Why Do Food Addictions Develop
Like many eating disorders, food addiction can develop due to biological, psychological, or social influences. Food addiction can also occur alongside an eating disorder. A study by the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior found that “food addicts” showed an increased prevalence of binge eating disorder, depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and impulsive personality. The best way to treat the underlying cause of your addiction is to visit a psychiatric professional like Dr. Bober. During a visit, he can evaluate your unique case at our Hollywood office and provide helpful recommendations.
What It Means To Have A Food Addiction
A food addict is technically anyone who is overly preoccupied with food, eating, and body image. That doesnt mean someone who appreciates a good meal or loves to go out to dinner. With a food addiction, the person also relies on food for comfort. A food addict may use food to fill in for something that is missing in their lives, such as love or strong friendships. There may be biological, psychological, or social reasons why someone develops a food addiction. Food addicts use foodespecially sugary foodslike any other addict uses an addictive substance. In fact, in laboratory studies, sugar addicts show changes in brain patterns and activity similar to other addicts.
Everyone has both a biological and psychological relationship with food. The biological is obvious: you must eat to thrive and survive. If you have a healthy relationship with food, that means routinely eating nutritious and well-balanced meals and snacks that consist of just enough foodnot too little and not too muchto sustain your energy levels and maintain your weight within a healthy range.
Read Also: How To Know When Your Addicted To Nicotine
How To Contact Me For Food Addiction Treatment:
There is so much conflicting information out there it can make your head spin. It seems like every day there is a new theory, a new expert, new study, new piece of research, a new plan, a new book..
So, what do you do? If you have a problem or you think you have a problem, seek professional help. Look for someone who is knowledgeable, supportive, and willing to help you find the solutions that are right for you!
There is no obligation and if I cannot help you, I will do my best to point you in the right direction.
Please call me to to schedule your free 15 minute phone consultation or to schedule an appointment in my Irvine office.
20 Corporate Park, Suite 215
Irvine, CA 92606
You will never change, until the pain of staying the same, is greater than the pain of change. Author unknown
20 Corporate Park, Suite 215 Irvine, CA 92606Phone: 261-8299