Previously, those who claimed to be addicted to eating have been ignored or told that their overeating is a choice, rather than a physical dependency. However, now that more research is being done, studies are showing that food addiction is a very real, and very serious, disorder. There are many health risks associated with food addiction so it’s important to identify an addiction and take steps toward recovery. Food addiction recovery is certainly possible. Before recovery is reached, it’s important to discover the causes for dependency.
What Is Food Addiction?
As with an substance, a food addiction can be recognized as a dependency on food. The signs of addiction are the same as those for a drug of alcohol dependency. Cravings, binging, and withdrawal symptoms may manifest themselves, causing an individual to grow more and more dependent on food. The effects of addiction can be both mental and physical and will greatly harm the individual’s quality of life. For this reason, recognizing an addiction and seeking treatment are extremely important.
Signs Of Food Addiction
To determine if you are suffering from a food addiction, answer the following questions:
- Do you often eat more than you intended? Do you find yourself often going back for a second helping after eating your meal?
- Do you constantly focus on food? Are you constantly thinking about what your next meal will be or where you’ll be going to eat?
- Does this feeling prevent you from staying focused on important tasks at work or at home?
- Do you continue eating, even after finishing a meal and becoming full? Do you eat to excess, until becoming uncomfortably full?
- When certain foods are not readily available, such as sugary treats or snack foods, do you go out of your way to obtain the food?
- Does food ever cause you to avoid certain social situations to stay home or become isolated?
- Do you often find yourself eating alone and even avoiding social situations where there will be eating involved?
- When going without food for a short period of time, do you experience any withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, headaches, or physical pain?
If you answered yes to these questions, there is a possibility of a food addiction. Thankfully, now that more research is being done, people are beginning to take this issue more seriously. That means that there are more options available for food addiction recovery.
Identifying The Problem
When attempting food addiction recovery, the first step is to determine why the individual has developed the dependency. There are many reasons that a person may become addicted to food. It’s important to find the cause in order to resolve it. Many people are emotional eaters. Those who experience a trauma or an extreme amount of stress may turn to food as a source of comfort. While it may be common to indulge in overeating while dealing with a stressful situation, that can quickly turn into a serious issue that needs to be addressed.
Others may develop a dependency based on the good feeling that food gives them. Certain types of food, like sugar, can give an individual a jolt of energy and an elevated mood. Associating food with these good feelings can cause a person to depend on food to keep them functioning. When that initial energy and feeling wear off, a person may become lethargic and irritable, experiencing pain. In these cases, he or she will most likely reach for another sugary snack to get the feeling back.
As with any addiction, it’s important to seek help. Through the help of a counselor or food addiction specialist, an individual can take steps toward a healthier lifestyle. How can a professional help?
A recommendation can be made to a dietary specialist to help you get your eating back on track.
Counseling sessions will help to discover the underlying issues that are causing a dependency on food.
A professional can give you the accountability that you need to stay on track while making progress toward your goal of a healthy lifestyle.
A support group can be recommended to provide a network of individuals to turn to for help with your food addiction recovery.