What Is Food Addiction
Food addiction is similar to drug or alcohol addiction, in that the body adapts to and becomes dependent on certain foods or specific eating behaviors. The Food Addiction Institute describes food addiction as a chronic and progressive disease characterized by our seeking the foods or food behaviors we are addicted to, eating/doing them compulsively and having a great deal of difficulty controlling these urges despite harmful consequences.
The Institute says the most commonly addictive foods are those high in sugar, flour, fat, grains and salt or some combination of these ingredients. They describe the most common addictive eating behaviors as bingeing, purging and volume eating.
The Yale Food Addiction Scale, a questionnaire based on diagnostic substance dependence criteria, was designed to assess and diagnose food addiction. Their criteria is based on an inability to control the consumption of sweets, starches, salty foods, high-fat foods, and sugary drinks.
An article on the diagnosis and treatment of food addiction published by the Danube Symposium of Psychiatry also found strong similarities between food addiction and drug, alcohol and other addictive behaviors and recommend similar treatment approaches.
A Negative Feedback Loop
From an outside perspective, someone with an addiction looks like theyre repeatedly making bad choices and ignoring reason. However, the truth is far more complicated and nuanced so much so that it can be very difficult for people to overcome a substance use disorder without inpatient or outpatient treatment. This is partly due to a negative feedback loop that occurs in the mind.
When someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol, they feel a sense of comfort they havent been able to get elsewhere. Inevitably, this feeling is replaced by guilt and shame as they sober up and face the consequences of their actions. However, the weight of these feelings forces them to seek comfort in substances. ;;
Common Signs And Symptoms Of Psychological Addiction:
- Intense cravings to use drugs and alcohol
- Denial about problems associated with addiction
- Feelings of depression and anxiety when trying to quit drugs and alcohol
- Feelings of anxiety about not having access to drugs and alcohol
- Feelings of restlessness when quitting or not using drugs and alcohol
- Being unable to cope without using drugs and alcohol
- Mood swings and irritability
- Insomnia when unable to use drugs or perform the addictive behavior
- Spending excess money and time on buying and using drugs
- Ongoing fantasies about using drugs or performing the addictive behavior long after quitting
- Loss of memory and confusion
- Tolerance to drugs, alcohol, and certain behaviors
Problems associated with psychological addiction are just as serious as those associated with physical addiction, and should be treated to lower the risk for depression, suicidal ideation, and cognitive health conditions like Dementia and Alzheimers disease. Psychological addiction can negatively impact ones overall quality of life, and lead to relapse and other major problems down the road when left untreated.
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Addiction And Your Brain
participants who suffered from chronic pain could alter the amount of pain they felt by slightly altering their thought process.In many ways, physical and psychological are identical in that they activate similar brain regions. An October 2010 study found that the anterior insula and the anterior cingulate cortex, both associated with feelings of physical pain, were activated after research participants viewed photos of a former romantic partner.
A separate research project published last month in PlOS Biology also found that participants who suffered from chronic pain could alter the amount of pain they felt by slightly altering their thought process, suggesting that psychological pain can overtake physical pain during these experiences.
How Psychological Addiction Occurs
So, what exactly is all this biology weve been referencing when it comes to forming a psychological addiction? And what does it mean in the context of drug addiction psychology?
When you take a substance or engage in an activity that causes pleasure, the nucleus accumbens is activated in your brain. This part of the brain controls feelings of pleasure as well as gives you the desire to recreate these feelingsessentially leading to the formation of psychological addiction.
You can essentially gain a psychological addiction to any substance, therefore. This includes drugs such as marijuana that are often marketed as non-addictive.
Psychological addictions are often found hand-in-hand with other mental disorders that leave people more susceptible to forming an addiction. Some people are also found to have addictive personalities, or genetic predispositions that make them more likely to form an addiction.
Psychological addictions can be just as detrimental to your everyday life and behavior as a physical addiction.
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Hooked On A Feeling: The Reality Of Psychological Addiction
Some substances, such as inhalants and cannabis products, dont actually contain any neurochemical addictive properties so how do people become addicted to them all the same?
Most are familiar with what physical addiction looks like, but the severity of psychological addiction is often overlooked.
Just because a substance doesnt contain any physically addictive ingredients or cause physical symptoms of withdrawal doesnt mean that it cant be just as addictiveor difficult to resist.
Are These Really The Least Addictive Drugs
Based on an objective study by David Nutt in 2007, these are in fact the least addictive 10 drugs out of the 20 included in the study. However, it is important to keep in mind that not all drugs were included in this study. As was already mentioned, prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs like Tylenol are less addictive than most substances mentioned here. However, people want to hear about illicit and/or the drugs that are capable of causing addiction.
Keep in mind that it is possible to become addicted to any of the drugs on the list above. Although the ratings would suggest that drugs like poppers or anabolic steroids are relatively non-addictive, it doesnt negate the fact that people still become addicted to these drugs. Therefore, unless approved by a medical professional, none of these drugs can be recommended or endorsed for recreational use.
The purpose for creating this list was to give people an idea of how drugs ranked compared to others in terms of addiction. The measures of addiction are not perfect, but they are still considered relatively accurate. The rankings were developed by experts in addiction, chemistry, pharmacology, forensic science, psychiatry, epidemiology, as well as police services.
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Can It Lead To Withdrawal
When it comes to withdrawal, many people think of the classic symptoms associated with withdrawal from things like alcohol or opioids.
Left unmanaged, withdrawal from certain substances can be severe and even life threatening in some cases. Other withdrawal symptoms, like those mentioned in the coffee example, are just uncomfortable.
But you can experience psychological withdrawal as well. Think about the panic and fear in the third example above.
You can also experience both physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms.
Post-acute withdrawal syndrome is another example of psychological withdrawal. Its a condition that sometimes pops up after the symptoms of physical withdrawal have subsided.
Some estimates suggest approximately 90 percent of people recovering from opioid addiction and 75 percent of people recovering from alcohol addiction or other substance addictions will have symptoms of PAWS.
Symptoms usually include:
- difficulty managing stress
- trouble with personal relationships
This condition can last for weeks, even months, and symptoms can range from mild to severe.
Symptoms might also fluctuate, improving for a period of time and intensifying when youre under a lot of stress.
Key Facts On Psychological Dependence
Psychological dependence relates to activation of the dopaminergic system.
Zolpidem does not increase dopamine from the NAc.
Zolpidem abuse and dependence have been reported around the world.
According to the World Health Organization guidelines for patients with moderate or severe pain, morphine has been used as a gold standard treatment for cancer pain.
Clinical experiences have demonstrated that when morphine is used to control pain in cancer patients, psychological dependence is not a major concern.
The number of nonmedical uses of prescription opioids including incidences of illicit opioid use and behaviors of problematic opioid misuse during chronic pain patients under opioid therapy has been increasing in recent years.
D. Fuentes, … C.P. Holstege, in, 2014
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Confronting Instead Of Avoiding Unpleasant Feelings
One of the hardest aspects of breaking psychological addiction is confronting unpleasant emotions, situations and people instead of avoiding them. Confronting doesnt necessarily mean facing something head on, either. It may mean taking positive, productive and proactive steps to manage a situation rather than swallowing the uncomfortable emotions it evokes and ending up in a binge.
Lets take as an example a fictional character named Bob, who is a functional alcoholic. By day, hes a productive employee, but as soon as he gets off work, he heads to the nearest bar and drinks until hes drunk. He sobers up enough to return to work the next day, hiding his alcoholism from his coworkers. Bob can skip several days of drinking with nothing more to show for it than a bad headache and some queasiness, so he doesnt feel hes physically addicted. He is, however, psychologically addicted, because every day, he has to head over to that bar instead of just taking the train home from his office job.
What Bob doesnt realize is that the trigger for his eventual compulsion to drink actually happens every morning when he arrives at work. His boss is 20 years younger than he is, and Bob resents being managed by someone he considers an inexperienced, arrogant man.
There is hope and healing from addiction. Recovery is possible. For more information, contact us online or call us 24/7.
Treatment For Both Physical And Psychological Addiction At Gateway
When it comes to treating addiction, you need to find an addiction treatment program that addresses both the physical and psychological components of this disease. At Gateway, we offer evidence-based treatment that we tailor to your exact needs, depending on the severity of your addiction.
We will help manage the physical effects of addiction through medically supervised detoxification. As we help you wean off drugs or alcohol, we address painful withdrawal symptoms and ensure your safety throughout this challenging process.
Once you are free from the physical component of this disease, we target the physicological side effects of addiction. Many underlying issues contribute to addiction. During your personalized therapy sessions, we help you develop coping techniques, so you are empowered to live a sober life. Even after your time with us is over, our alumni services ensure you stay on the road to recovery.
Whether you struggle with physical or psychological addiction or both, we help you learn the tools you need to overcome at Gateway. Contact us today to find out more.
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Addiction Habituation And Dependence
Enormous difficulties were encountered in trying to apply these definitions of addiction and habituation because of the wide variations in the pattern of use. As a result, in 1964 the World Health Organization recommended a new standard that replaces both the term drug addiction and the term drug habituation with the term drug dependence, which in subsequent decades became more and more commonplace in describing the need to use a substance to function or survive. Drug dependence is defined as a state arising from the repeated administration of a drug on a periodic or continual basis. Its characteristics will vary with the agent involved, and this must be made clear by designating drug dependence as being of a particular typethat is, drug dependence of morphine type, of cannabis type, of barbiturate type, and so forth. As an example, drug dependence of a cannabis type is described as a state involving repeated administration, either periodic or continual. Its characteristics include a desire or need for repetition of the drug for its subjective effects and the feeling of enhancement of ones capabilities that it effects, little or no tendency to increase the dose since there is little or no tolerance development, a psychological dependence on the effects of the drug related to subjective and individual appreciation of those effects, and absence of physical dependence so that there is no definite and characteristic abstinence syndrome when the drug is discontinued.
Psychology Of Breaking Addiction
Examining the psychology of addiction provides clues for the psychology of breaking addiction. When someone knows why theyre engaging in a destructive pattern of behavior, they can take steps to change their actions.
The general pattern found in the psychology of addiction is:
|Trigger. An external action or an internal thought triggers strong feelings.|
|Avoidance. To avoid these feelings, the addict needs their substance or behavior of choice.|
|Substitution. Rather than deal with the unpleasant feelings, the addict engages in the compulsion or addiction to substitute positive feelings for the negative ones.|
|Repetition. Behaviors repeating along this pattern are addictive.|
Its hard to understand breaking psychological addiction unless you comprehend that the act of drinking, drugging or indulging in a compulsive behavior begins days, hours or even minutes before the actual binge. Psychological addiction is triggered by circumstances. These circumstances then lead to avoidance and substitution. If you can figure out when you are triggered, you can break the psychology of addiction by substituting positive behaviors or confronting the unpleasant situation, rather than avoiding it.
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Common Physical And Psychological Addiction Types
Many people commonly associate the term addiction with drug and alcohol abuse, but behavioral addiction is also very widespread. In the United States, alcohol has the highest rate of dependence or abuse among all substances, while marijuana ranks second and is becoming more widely used on behalf of legalization across the country. Other common physical addictions are that to opioids, sedatives, stimulants, and hallucinogens.
In cases of drug and alcohol addiction, each substance produces its own unique effects that may appeal to some individuals more than others. For instance, those seeking an intense energy rush may choose to abuse stimulants like cocaine and Adderall, while those seeking a more relaxed feeling of sedation may abuse opioids like heroin and oxycodone.
Behavioral addictions are often triggered by factors such as genetics and personality, and often coincide with substance abuse. Examples of behavioral addiction include addiction to sex, exercise, and video games.
Health Problems Associated With Addiction
In addition to the psychological effects of addiction, drug and alcohol abuse have the potential to lead to an array of other health conditions. Chronic substance use is a risk factor for the following illnesses:
- Disorders that affect;decision-making
There are a lot of similarities between anxiety and the effects of stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamine. Conversely, using central nervous system depressants can also increase the risk of a person developing anxiety. Although they calm a persons nerves while theyre intoxicated, they intensify anxiety when the effects wear off.;
Additionally, many addicts experience anxiety around trying to hide their habits from other people. In a lot of cases, its difficult to tell whether anxious people are more likely to abuse substances or if drugs and alcohol cause anxiety.
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Are All The Drugs Listed Above Non
No. Anyone can become addicted to any drug or any substance for that matter. Perhaps youve seen the show My Strange Addiction in which people become addicted to drinking gasoline. On an individual basis, any of these drugs can be highly addictive. However, based on the scientific measurements for addiction such as: pleasure, physical dependence, and psychological dependence these drugs score lower than most.
Also it is important to understand that just because a drug is included in this list does NOT mean that it isnt dangerous. There are plenty of dangers and long-term side effects associated with using certain drugs on this list. In no way should someone assume that just because a drug isnt considered addictive that it should be considered safe.
Drug Abuse Rewires Your Brain
One of the most profound changes that occur in people who struggle with addiction is in the reward center of the brain. Dopamine is responsible for feelings of motivation, pleasure, and reward and alcohol, prescription medications, and illegal drugs all hijack this pathway. If you or a loved one is suffering from drug or alcohol addiction, youll have noticed a shift in priorities.;
As an addicted person needs an increasing amount of their substance of choice to get the same high, they become more and more preoccupied with procuring and using substances. This is what leads to the most damaging effects of addiction. To the sufferer, friends, family, work, and being an upstanding citizen become less important than inebriation.
Often, people in addiction treatment centers are recovering from experiencing an endless cycle of guilt, emotional pain, and short-term relief from substances. This negative feedback loop can eventually lead to mental health issues and other side effects.;
Biological Abnormalities And The Psychology Of Addiction
Other research has indicated that repeated exposure to drugs and other addictive substances can permanently change the molecular and neurochemical structure and functioning of the brain. Even after detoxification, a person can be susceptible to relapsing because prior repeated use has affected the brain to such a critical degree. Tolerance, one of the defining characteristics of an addiction, is when increased amounts of the drug are taken to achieve the same effect; this, in turn, creates further changes in the brain. Since this is true, Halpern says, drug dependence takes place on the cellular level, not just in the addicts mind, because the central nervous system is in a constant state of adjustment, trying to find the sweet spot for the drug exposure. The fact that abrupt termination of drug use results in observable and reproducible symptoms of withdrawal suggests that addiction is very medical in nature.
Halpern concludes by writing that all forms of data on the subject are in agreement, that addiction is defined across the board by biological abnormalities, so much so that a simple hypothesis of choice cannot explain the psychology behind addiction.