Can You Be Addicted To Food?

Food addiction does not mean someone is addicted to eating food. Instead, food addiction focuses on the behaviors associated with the consumption of certain food groups that result in a pathological inability to stop eating these foods, regardless of experienced or impending consequences.

These food groups tend to be more “satisfying” than others, such as sugars, fats, and salts, and produce a euphoric feeling when consumed. A receptive pattern of unhealthy food consumption can lead to a cycle of craving and consuming to satisfy the craving, which is similar to how substance use impacts the brain.

Food addiction can lead to negative impacts on a person’s mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing, so it is important to recognize the patterns and seek treatment as soon as possible. Various treatment options are readily available and help support successful recovery from food addiction.

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Food Addiction Treatment

There are multiple treatment approaches available for food addiction that are similar to treating other behavioral addictions. These treatment options include medical, psychological, and peer support services. These programs can provide effective care when food addiction is recognized as the underlying issue.

Medical Treatment

Unhealthy eating behaviors commonly seen with food addiction can result in the development of chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

When starting one’s journey in recovery from food addiction, having a clear picture of one’s physical and emotional health is key. This includes working with a healthcare professional who understands the impact of food addiction to identify successful strategies to manage these conditions.

Along with a medical professional, working with a psychiatric medical provider to address any potential mental health conditions is also recommended. Depression and anxiety are commonly experienced with addiction, as they can cause serious harm to an individual’s identity and ability to function in daily life. Medication can assist in making the recovery journey more achievable by addressing underlying mental health conditions.

Featured Centers Offering Treatment for Food Addiction

Psychological Treatment

There are a variety of behavioral health therapy options for treating addiction, with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) being one of the most well-known.

CBT works by reviewing the individuals’ thought patterns, emotions, and behaviors. This is important for reviewing the addiction cycle and developing an understanding of how the behaviors occur.

This understanding allows for the creation and implementation of practices meant to intervene when triggering emotions and thoughts occur, reducing the chance of unhealthy impulsive behaviors. When completed as part of a cohesive plan, many health goals can be completed during therapy such as improved mood, targeted weight control, improved nutrition, and improved sense of self.

Online Therapy

Online therapy is a highly effective treatment option for someone dealing with a food addiction.

It has many benefits, including:

  • Being cost-effective
  • Providing a more flexible schedule
  • Connecting people to specialized groups focused on their individual needs

Virtual methods for food addiction treatment range from peer and mentorship support groups to individual sessions with licensed therapists.

Online support groups connect people across the country who are suffering from various eating disorders and food addiction with people who have successfully recovered. These online options can help combat the loneliness that results from these conditions while simultaneously creating a sense of belonging and community.

Food Addicts Anonymous

Peer support services for overeating and eating disorders, such as Overeaters Anonymous and Food Addicts Anonymous, have been around for over 50 years.These programs are similar to the traditional 12-step programs found in substance use recovery like Alcoholics Anonymous. They understand that addiction is a disease that involves many aspects that require support.

Peer support services are useful tools for anyone in early recovery or seeking recovery. There is a unique fellowship that is formed when working with others in similar situations who can provide support in a personalized way.

Food Addiction Diagnosis

Because food addiction is not a fully recognized medical diagnosis at this time, there are no clear criteria outlined for diagnosis.

However, food addiction has been actively researched, which has provided some scientific measures to assess for potentially unhealthy food relationships. These measures mostly focus on certain food groups, including:

  • Sugars: candy, soda, energy drinks, etc.
  • Starches: pasta, bread, rice, etc.
  • Salts: crackers, chips, pretzels, popcorn, etc.
  • Fats: french fries, bacon, red meat, etc.

Though not an exclusive list, foods in these groups often create the pleasurable feelings associated with addiction.

Symptoms Of Food Addiction

If you suspect that yourself or a loved one suffers from an addiction to food, some behaviors to watch out for include:

  • Frequently eating more than planned
  • Eating when not hungry
  • Failing to reduce overeating
  • Experiencing fatigue or mood changes after overeating
  • Experiencing psychological symptoms, like anxiety and depression, connected to overeating
  • Having strong, unmanageable cravings
  • Avoiding people and places due to a risk of overeating

Side-Effects Of Food Addiction

An addiction to food and its related conditions can have many harmful physical and psychological side-effects including:

  • Excessive weight gain
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Depression
  • Low self-esteem

These side-effects can be dangerous on their own, so it’s imperative to seek treatment to prevent serious, life-threatening consequences.

Overcome Food Addiction

Food addiction is a very real problem that causes distress for many people. If you or a loved one are struggling with food addiction or an eating disorder of any kind, get help today.

Food addiction can lead to significant health issues without intervention. Take the next step and explore your online therapy options today.

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