Regardless of what some may think, drugs and alcohol aren’t the only things that people develop an addiction to. Food is also one, and food dependency isn’t just real, but also very difficult to address.
Food addiction is, according to conventional medicine, a behavioral disorder in which patients overconsume and are chemically addicted to palatable foods, or anything high in sodium, fat, or sugar. More often than not, people perceive patients addicted to food as individuals without any self-discipline or control, but it couldn’t be much farther from the truth.
The dependency on eating highly palatable foods is related to the way the foods give pleasure and activate the reward system in the brain, which is really similar to the effects of drugs such as cocaine or heroin.
What is food addiction seen by people?
Due to their addiction (no matter if it’s inherited or a sign of imbalances in their bodies), victims lose control of overeating, having to deal with depression, self-loathing, and shame. Sadly, society doesn’t make it any easier for people with addiction, and the stigma is difficult to bear. Not only that, people with addiction are seen as people with chronic diseases (so they may never heal), but people struggling with food addiction are perceived as lazy, overindulgent, and unable to have will power. The shame and stigma connected with overeating turn the food addiction treatment into a painful and challenging process. Needless to say, patients don’t find the resources for dealing with their addiction, let alone ever heal.
What options for treatment do patients have?
People moving away from conventional rehab centers is no longer news. Within the traditional rehab programs, addiction is considered to be a chronic disease. Patients learn how to deal with their symptoms, but they may never heal again. They would need to struggle with their dependency forever, and live with the constant fear of relapsing.
It’s not the case for alternative therapies, which see addiction as just a symptom of unbalances in one’s system. The patient is seen as a whole, and the treatments focus on healing the body, mind, and soul.
The variety of methods used within an alternative rehabilitation and healing center is impressive. Moreover, a good program will analyze and decide together with the patient whose set of plans fit one patient best. The customized therapies match the patient’s needs, particularities, and level of addiction.
For instance, at the Holistic Sanctuary, every aspect counts for one’s recovery. The fantastic location (it is known that nature has impressive abilities for healing and well-being), the private rooms, and high-end amenities are only some of the many aspects that attract the clients.
24/7 care, people taking care of patients all the time, in-house ER doctors, and a 100% organic diet are added to the list. The principle guiding one’s healing is that the process should address the body, mind, and soul. Patients have the chance to find out the main root of their addiction. And once that happens, the pathway to healing becomes more comfortable.
How to define food addiction the best way?
There are several aspects that matter for food addiction:
Is it binge eating or food addiction?
Even if people use both terms interchangeably, there are some differences between the two. Food dependency relates to the biochemical addiction on foods that are high in sugar, fat, and sodium, as they have addiction abilities. The condition resembles binge eating, where people indulge uncontrollably in food consumption.
However, it’s the chemical aspect that makes the difference between the two. One dealing with food addiction unable to obtain the highly palatable foods will go through withdrawal symptoms such as distortion of needs, physical craving, and even manic behaviors. Sometimes, the withdrawal effects determine the patient’s lie and even steal for satisfying their desire.
Does food addiction lead to obesity?
Unfortunately, food addiction may cause obesity as patients end up consuming a high number of calories. The risk of developing is high. But it’s not only the food addiction causing obesity. Other factors such as genetics and level of physical activity too. As a matter of fact, many people with food addiction don’t end up obese, but it’s because they have a fast metabolism or because of their strenuous physical activity.
Why is chemical addiction significant?
When the patient is consuming the trigger foods, the release of serotonin and dopamine in the brain will lead to intense sensations of pleasure- similar to those caused by drugs. The release in the reward system happens right after eating the food, which makes the patient connect the act of eating to the emotional state of well-being. It’s only a matter of time until people with food addiction will connect food straight to comfort, pleasure, and stability, no matter how unpleasant the adverse effects may be.
The pleasure signals that the food may activate are so strong that they block any signals of fullness or satisfaction. Anyone becoming addicted to food will eventually engage in re-occurrent situations of overeating. They will end up obsessing about food and the pleasure that is associated.
How can you tell if it’s food addiction or not?
It’s fair to say that most of us like food, and that we all have cravings some times. But when is it reasonable, and when is it a problem to crave for some food? Here are the most common symptoms and signs for food addiction:
- One highly anticipates the benefits when overeating
- One is obsessively thinking about food all day long
- One is overeating and never feels full
- One is eating impressive amounts of food in a short amount of time. It can go from 5,000 to 15,000 calories.
- The patient feels that he/she has lost control after consuming particular trigger foods
- The patient finds excuses for overeating, despite the weight gain or health issues caused by overeating
- The patient cannot stick with any diets or food limitations
- Patient deals with anxiety, panic attacks, and irritability when he/she doesn’t have access to food
- The patient has eating habits in society different from the ones he/she has when alone
- The patient has suicidal thoughts or self-harm
- The patient feels deeply depressed and hates himself after overeating
- The patient feels intense pleasure, relief, and comfort when eating
Instead of a conclusion
Whether that is you experiencing the symptoms or someone in your life, it’s always a good thing to look for professional help. Just like any other type of addiction, food dependency isn’t something that one can deal with or solve on his own. The therapies for healing are various, which is why selecting the proper treatment is even more critical.