Do you know the harsh reality of food addiction? Learn more about the signs, causes and treatment options available.
It would be very difficult to find someone that does not like food or does not enjoy eating. It is in our nature and it is a very central part of who and what we are. Not without reason do they often say “we are what we eat.” But what happens when that appreciation turns into a serious food addiction?
For anyone, under normal circumstances, food is key to their sustenance and survival, part of their daily lives and routine. Food addiction however, becomes an issue when aside from normal gratification, food becomes the source of all wellbeing, peace of mind, happiness… just like alcohol or drugs.
While the terminology may sound new to some, in psychology it is a well-known disorder. Someone suffering from food addiction becomes dependent on the arousal of positive feeling that comes from eating, especially foods that are sugary, rich in fat, or high in sodium.
But how can we explain it? This disorder takes the same pattern as that of a drug addiction or alcoholism. The only thing that changes in this case, is the substance.
The intake of foods – especially junk food – provokes a chemical reaction in the brain, producing the release of endorphins and the “happy hormones”, creating a chain reaction pleasure and reward in the brain, finalizing with feelings of satisfaction.
Unfortunately, those feelings of satisfaction and happiness are fleeting, and the food addict starts feeling guilt, disgust, self-blame, sickness, etc.
To understand this, let’s take a look at the food addiction symptoms that are most telling and most common:
- Eating in excess during all meals, taking in more than one can physically tolerate
- Trying to eat alone so no one will see your portions, the type of food you eat, to avoid feeling judged
- Eating despite not being hungry
- Suffering from different digestive problems
- Suffering from intense food cravings, particularly unhealthy food
- Experiencing mood swings, irritability, episodes of anger
- Suffering from sadness, guilt, depression, especially after eating.
- Isolation or avoiding social activities because of self-image issues
These food addiction symptoms are worrisome and dangerous as it is, on their own. But, unfortunately, these are only the factors that are able to perceive as a form of behavior.
The deepest, most dangerous symptoms or signs of a food addiction are those that are happening inside the body of the food addict. Someone that has this unbalance relationship with food, will often experience:
- High cholesterol
- Irregular body weight
- High blood sugar
- Liver disease
- Stomach ulcers
- Kidney disease
- Chronic fatigue
- Sleep disorders
Moreover, the psychological aspect of the disease is just as grave. Someone that does not seek proper food addiction treatment will experience severe episodes of anxiety, depression, guilt, irritability, engage in suicidal thoughts, loneliness, etc.
These emotional and psychological factors often lead to other digestive health disorders.
When someone you care about is showing these signs and symptoms, or has expressed their concern about the possibility of suffering from this disorder, it is imperative that they get proper food addiction treatment as soon as possible.
Thankfully, because this is an addiction just like drugs and alcohol, the same type of treatment options are available for those seeking to get better. Rehab centers, medical practices and psychotherapy centers are available to help right now.
More often than not, someone that suffers from food addiction will require an intensive type of treatment in order to tackle all the issues at one: the ingestion of unhealthy food, the emotional causes behind it, the psychological effects it has caused, etc.
Getting help from an accredited center and relying on the guidance and support of a Licensed Counselor or Therapist is the number one step in order to recover. This disorder can be cured and a patient can lead a healthy life once he or she has completed treatment.