The idea that a person can be addicted to food has recently gained increasing support. That comes from brain imaging and other studies of the effects of compulsive overeating on pleasure centers in the brain.
Experiments in animals and humans show that, for some people, the same reward and pleasure centers of the brain that are triggered by addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin are also activated by food, especially highly palatable foods. Highly palatable foods are foods rich in:
Like addictive drugs, highly palatable foods trigger feel-good brain chemicals such as dopamine. Once people experience pleasure associated with increased dopamine transmission in the brain’s reward pathway from eating certain foods, they quickly feel the need to eat again.
The reward signals from highly palatable foods may override other signals of fullness and satisfaction. As a result, people keep eating, even when they’re not hungry. Compulsive overeating is a type of behavioural addiction meaning that someone can become preoccupied with a behaviour (such as eating, or gambling, or shopping) that triggers intense pleasure. People with food addictions lose control over their eating behaviour and find themselves spending excessive amounts of time involved with food and overeating, or anticipating the emotional effects of compulsive overeating.
People who show signs of food addiction may also develop a kind of tolerance to food. They eat more and more, only to find that food satisfies them less and less.
Scientists believe that food addiction may play an important role in obesity. But normal-weight people may also struggle with food addiction. Their bodies may simply be genetically programmed to better handle the extra calories they take in. Or they may increase their physical activity to compensate for overeating.
People who are addicted to food will continue to eat despite negative consequences, such as weight gain or damaged relationships. And like people who are addicted to drugs or gambling, people who are addicted to food will have trouble stopping their behaviour, even if they want to or have tried many times to cut back.
Signs of Food Addiction
• End up eating more than planned when you start eating certain foods
• Keep eating certain foods even if you’re no longer hungry
• Eat to the point of feeling ill
• Worry about not eating certain types of foods or worry about cutting down on certain types of foods
• When certain foods aren’t available, go out of your way to obtain them
Ask yourself if these situations apply to you:
• You eat certain foods so often or in such large amounts that you start eating food instead of working, spending time with the family, or doing recreational activities.
• You avoid professional or social situations where certain foods are available because of fear of overeating.
• You have problems functioning effectively at your job or school because of food and eating.
Help for Food Addiction
Science is still working to understand and find treatments for food addiction.
Some argue that recovery from food addiction may be more complicated than recovery from other kinds of addictions. Alcoholics, for example, can ultimately abstain from drinking alcohol. But people who are addicted to food still need to eat.
A nutritionist, psychologist, or doctor who is educated about food addiction may be able to help you break the cycle of compulsive overeating.
We at South Coast Recovery Centre are able to help assist you, call us today on 072 545 5414/ 039 314 4777 or email us on: firstname.lastname@example.org, we want to help YOU!
Credit to: WebMD