Food is essential to everyone since it provides us with the necessary nutrients and energy, in addition, it gives us pleasure and enjoyment. But some people develop food addiction which is an uncontrollable and compulsive need to eat and is comparable to drug addiction. It may be caused by emotional stress, hormonal imbalance or abnormalities in various brain structures. People with food addiction usually crave unhealthful and junk products such as candies, chips, white bread, etc.
According to one theory, people can develop a chemical dependency on certain foods like people develop addictions to cigarettes or alcohol. When consuming these foods, the brain produces dopamine which gives pleasurable sensations making people wanting to eat more. Therefore, anger, depression, and sadness may provoke food addiction in some people.
1. Foods linked to food addiction
Foods associated with food addiction are usually high in fat, sugar, and starch. These include:
- Ice cream
- White bread
2. Signs and symptoms of food addiction
Although food addiction can be caused by different factors such as psychological, biological, and social, symptoms often include:
- Compulsive eating
- Eating alone
- Avoiding social relationships
- Failed attempts to stop overeating
- Digestive disorders
- Sleep disorders
- Chronic fatigue
- The need to eat for emotional release
- Eating to the point of feeling excessively stuffed
After overeating, people with food addiction may experience such feelings as:
If you suspect an eating disorder and experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, visit your family doctor to plan food addiction treatment and get back to normal. If left untreated, food addiction can lead to premature death. It also increases the risk of type two diabetes and obesity. In addition, food addiction negatively affects a person’s self-image and self-esteem.
3. Food Addiction Treatment and Management
Treatment for food addiction often includes the following steps:
- Taking medications. Doctors usually use medications to relieve anxiety and depression.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy. It helps to create coping mechanisms for food addiction.
- Trauma therapy. It is effective in dealing with the psychological trauma that could provoke food addiction.
- Changing dietary habits. This therapy includes eliminating cravings for trigger foods and planning a new diet. This is probably the most difficult part of food addiction treatment. It’s important to avoid food triggers in order to completely get rid of food cravings.
Sucess of food addiction treatment always depends on a person’s efforts and desire to overcome this condition. There are also some lifestyle changes that may be helpful for those who want to get rid of food addiction:
- Performing regular physical activity
- Getting healthy sleep
- Cooking meals at home
- Drinking plenty of water
- Avoiding caffeine-containing products
- Following the diet prescribed by a nutritionist
- Chewing slowly
- Reducing any kind of stress
Overcoming any addiction is always difficult but possible. Try to seek help for food addiction and support groups like Overeaters Anonymous, Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous, Food Addicts Anonymous or GreySheeters Anonymous, you can also visit a psychologist or psychiatrist.
Food addiction is a condition that won’t go away on its own and if ignored, the chances to recover and heal will worsen over time. Start treatment now and take care of your body and mental health.