Food Addiction Basics

To overcome food addiction, you need to take the first step of acknowledging to yourself that you experience certain foods as addictive. That means you eat them compulsively and lose control of yourself in the process.

Yes, there is such thing as food addiction. This is the time when good food becomes bad.

Food addiction is a term given when someone makes food the outlet for his or her problems, whatever the cause may be. But, just because addictive behaviors are behaviors doesn't mean the addiction is "all in your head."

Actually, studies have shown that plain sucrose or table sugar, actually cross-reacts with addictive stimulant drugs (like amphetamine) in its effects on brain chemistry and brain function. So, for some people, especially women, who are particularly sensitive to sensitizing to foods and environmental chemicals, sugar is a literally addictive food. Foods high in fat, like those with sugar, can also calm down anxiety, making many desserts such as ice cream and rich cakes and cookies a particularly addictive combination for people under stress.

Food addiction doesn't really have an easy recovery, but there are changes in dietary habits and natural treatments such as acupuncture, that can help. One extra step to take is to know what causes the stress eating or emotional eating response in the person who has food addiction.

Usually, the craving for food, even if the person is not hungry, is caused by emotional problems engaged in the person's life. Once a dysfunctional habit is maintained with food, there is a risk to always be starving or over-eating.

When food is used as a getaway tool for problems, it becomes unhealthy and can lead to health risks ranging from joint pain and mood swings to actual diabetes and heart disease.

Don't mistake food addiction with over-eating in food gatherings or occasions because that is totally expected. Over-eating in parties or holidays is normal in many societies and the person can get back into his or her daily eating habit afterwards.

Food addiction is far beyond than that. It involves a certain kind of craving that goes out of control and leads the person into eating compulsively, like any addict does with their addictive substance of choice.

This is quite evident with people who are obese. A lot of obese people who were once thin have undergone physical and emotional stresses that activated the addictive tendency. Food ends up their inappropriate "best friend." You can think of food addiction as both a physical and emotional dependence, craving, and addictive behaviors.

No matter how healthy something is, when it runs to excess, the result can be pretty nasty and unforgiving to the addicted body. Unlike smoking and alcohol addiction that can be avoided toward improving health, food is a necessity for staying alive.

But in food addiction, it's quite different because people need to eat. A person who is addicted to food can't be extracted from eating, or they would eventually die. So, the focus of food addiction treatment becomes finding out the specific foods that trigger the cravings and finding diet plans to avoid those foods completely. For less severe food addiction, sometimes acupuncture can ease both the withdrawal experience, as it may for smokers, but it may also help keep down the cravings over the long haul.

How can you spot a food addict?

1. Secretive eating. When someone in your family isolates himself from everyone just to gobble up everything in the fridge, this can be a good sign. Although, this person will never mention how many times he eats because he wanted to keep his eating disorder to himself.

2. Eating bad foods. Bad here describes food that are raw, stale, undercooked, overcooked or even half frozen. Or, just eating junk food or sweets or even bread compulsively and often but not always in binges.

Food addiction is not just a problem for those who are fat but also to those who seem normal and underweight. This Overcome Food Addictionkind of addiction can be associated with other food eating disorders like bulimia wherein someone indulges in food and then resorts to induced vomiting or laxative use to eliminate excess food that were taken.

The moment you have spotted someone who is into food addiction, especially in your family or even a friend, take a moment to sit down and help them get help for their addiction. There are self help programs, even a food addicts anonymous group, and professional treatment, often with alternative medicine doctors.

Food addicts are in dire need of medical and psychological help in order to overcome the disorder. If someone in your family has exhibited food addiction, encourage him or her to get the help that is out there so that they can get back to living more happily and fully. Some self-help groups that might offer key social support for you include Overeaters Anonmymous and Food Addicts Anonymous.

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4 Responses to Food Addiction Basics

  • Michelle says:

    Hi, I am a complusive overeater. I am starting the 12 step program now and need help. I am an emotional overeater. I wish I would just quit eating all together but we need food to live and be healthy. I’ve always considered food to be my friend. But it’s actually ruining my life. Shortness of breath while walking, knee and back pain, fat around my heart, bladder issues, etc. the list goes on. I have to take control of this. And I’m going to start today.

  • joan seal says:

    I ama thin person, but I’m addicted to food. For instance when I’m stressed I can eat a helf gallon of ice cream or too much candy. I hate myself when I do this. Is there some way I can overcome this? My husband had lung cancer and needs to gain weight so I have a lot of things in my home that I don’t usually have like ice cream and other like things. Please help me. I’m 69, 4 ft. 11 and weigh 104. But I hate it when I go on these binges. Any help would be appreciated. My husband was addicted to smoking and my sister is addicted to drinking alcohol.

  • Ellie says:

    I am only a teenager, but I am addicted to food. I had not known before that this was an actual possibility, but after reading this article, I have realized. I am overweight. I hate my body and start many diets but end up giving in and overeating. As I do every day. Every day is a struggle and I just want to stop but when I am in that moment nothing can stop or prevent me from eating. I hate it. I hate myself. I need to stop. How do I overcome this?

  • Karen Howeth says:

    Help I am an addict. I have overcome illness, I had even lost 115 lbs ,I have gained 60 lbs back . I am addicted to food and I come from a long line of addicts. HELP? I don’t know what to do. I have done many fad diets,pills etc, I think I need help from my addiction.

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