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Food Addiction Facts and Information

Food Addiction: How Serious is This Problem?

In the United States, more and more people are suffering from food addictions every year. So many people have a goal of eating healthier and losing weight. However, this goal often remains unreachable for them. They spend their lives constantly struggling with their food intake. As a result, they will eat large amounts of unhealthy food. They do this even though they know that they're harming themselves.

Food Addiction Information

There are certain foods that often lead to food addictions. For the food addict, diet and exercise efforts often go thwarted in an effort to feed their addictions. It's not unusual for people to find themselves stuck in a horrible addiction cycle. When this occurs, it feels as though they'll never escape it.

Here at Northpoint Washington, no one understands food addictions better than we do. We constantly work with people who are trying to stop eating certain types of foods. They usually find that no matter how hard they try, their addictions win in the end. Perhaps this is where you are too. You're wondering if there will ever be a way for you to change. You may have tried all kinds of fad diets, secretly hoping that someday you'll find something that works. Sadly, this is the story of so many food addicts all across the country.

You may or may not be aware of your food addiction. Maybe you've suspected that you had an addiction to food for quite some time. You just never really knew for sure. If that's how you feel, it's good that you're here. Getting the right information can provide you with the tools you need to get help.

What is a Food Addict?

A food addiction is a process addiction. This makes it very different from other types of addictions. However, there are still some similarities when comparing it with drug and alcohol addiction.

People who are addicted to food usually find themselves drawn to junk food. They experience the same urge to eat junk food as drug addicts experience to use drugs. Food addiction impacts the same areas of the brain as drug addiction. The reward centers of the brain become used to the dopamine response. This drives food addicts to use again and again.

Many food addicts actually have eating disorders. These might include binge eating disorder, bulimia and compulsive overeating disorder.

The foods that are typically thought of as the “go-to” foods for food addicts are processed. They are those that contain a lot of sugar and wheat. Salt can also be included for food addicts. When someone has a food addiction, no amount of willpower is going to be able to help. This can leave the individual feeling weak and guilty after overeating or indulging. This creates a feeling of remorse, which is often soothed with another food binge. It's easy to see how the cycle can continue.

Types of Food Addictions You Should be Aware of

There are a few different kinds of food addictions. Each one is very serious, but they do affect people in many different ways. The various types of food addictions are:

Binge Eating

Someone who binges is a compulsive overeater. This person is unable to control their food intake at all. They will go back and forth with different diets, but usually fail. In fact, they will often gain back the initial weight they lost, plus some. When a binge eater eats, he or she usually experiences a lot of guilt. This is a terrible cycle that can easily lead to depression, which leads to more bingeing.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa can be life threatening. As a food addiction, it involves compulsive eating followed by purging behaviors. The purging is done solely in an effort not to gain weight. Someone who is bulimic is completely obsessed with their body shape and their weight. They are very secretive about their food addiction behaviors. They feel guilty, but at the same time, they don't know how to stop.

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is a little bit different in that it involves not eating, or eating very little. This person will obsess over his or her food intake. The goal is to maintain a thin body image. Regardless of how thin this person gets, he or she still sees a fat person in the mirror. Anorexics have a hard time eating in public, and they feel disgusted about food.

Signs and Symptoms of Food Addiction

You may already know that you have an unhealthy relationship with food. You could be well aware of the problems it is causing for you. However, most people never really think about food as an addiction. It's important to know the signs and symptoms of a food addiction. Once you know them, it might be easier to figure out your relationship with food.

Some of the signs and symptoms of food addiction might be:

  • Consistently eating more food than you can tolerate.
  • Feeling the need to eat food until you are sick.
  • Going out of your way in order to get certain foods.
  • Continuing to eat certain foods even if you're not hungry.
  • Only eating when you're alone.
  • Being very secretive about your eating.
  • Choosing to avoid social gatherings so that you can enjoy your favorite foods.
  • Avoiding getting into a relationship because it might interfere with your food.
  • Having problems with your job because of your preoccupation with food.
  • Spending a lot of money on food for bingeing.
  • Not having a lot of energy, or constantly feeling tired.
  • Having problems with concentration.
  • Oversleeping or suffering from insomnia.
  • Feeling restless and irritable.
  • Suffering from chronic headaches.
  • Experiencing digestive difficulties.

Sometimes, people with food addictions will suffer from symptoms of anxiety and depression as well. In fact, it is not uncommon for them to even have thoughts of suicide. They feel that they can't control their addictive behaviors surrounding food. Suicide might seem to offer them a way out.

Are You Addicted to Food? Take a Food Addiction Quiz to Find Out

After looking at the above signs of food addiction, maybe you still wonder if you're a food addict. It's normal to be unsure. It might actually be more helpful for you to take a food addiction quiz. Answering some personal questions about your relationship with food can often be very beneficial.

You may find some of these questions to be difficult for you to answer. Do the best that you can, and try to be honest.

  • Do you frequently get cravings for certain foods, even when you just ate?
  • Do you often eat more food than you intended to eat?
  • When you eat a food you were craving, do you keep eating until you feel stuffed?
  • Does eating certain foods make you feel guilty?
  • Even though you feel guilty, do you continue to binge again and again?
  • Do you often make excuses about why you should eat certain foods?
  • Have you tried to set rules about your food consumption, and then broken them?
  • Have you tried to stop eating the foods you crave, but failed?
  • Do you lie about how much food you eat?
  • Do you hide your obsession with certain foods from other people?
  • Does eating seem to be something that you don't have control over?
  • Do you continue to eat even though you know you're causing yourself harm?
  • Have others told that they're concerned you might have a food addiction?
  • Do you have medical problems that you know are related to how much food you eat?
  • Do you constantly think about food, even after you've already binged?
  • Do you spend a lot of time recovering from a binge session?

If you answered yes to more than two questions on this quiz, you probably do have a food addiction. That might be disheartening to you. You never meant to become addicted to food. Now that you feel you might be, you may start to feel panicky inside.

Please know that you're not alone. Other people have suffered with food addictions before. Also, many people have overcome their food addictions. These individuals now have a healthy relationship with food. It's possible for you to reach that point too.

What Causes Food Addictions to Occur?

Most likely, food addiction is the result of several different factors. There usually isn't just one cause of the disorder. There could be many biological, social and psychological reasons for a food addiction.

Some of the biological factors involved in food addictions could include:

  • Problems with hormone imbalance
  • Brain abnormalities
  • Side effects from some medications
  • Having a family history of addiction
  • Some types of medical issues

There are also social factors that could play a role in food addiction. These may include:

  • Having a dysfunctional family
  • Experiencing pressure from peers
  • Pressure from society
  • A history of child abuse
  • A lack of social support
  • Various stressful life events

Some psychological factors that could play a role in food addiction could include:

  • A history of emotional abuse
  • A history of sexual abuse
  • Surviving a traumatic event
  • Not being able to cope with negative situations
  • Low self-esteem
  • A history of grief or loss
  • Mental illness, such as anxiety or depression

A diagnosis of a food addiction most likely comes because of a combination of some of the above. It is important to figure out what has caused your food addiction. Healing in that area needs to take place before recovery can be a possibility.

Types of Food Addiction Help You May Want to Consider

If you have a food addiction, getting help is the most important thing you can do. There are several ways you can accomplish this.

Food Addicts Anonymous: Food Addicts Anonymous is an organization that offers groups for people with food addictions. They have meetings all over the country, as well as online.

Find a Therapist: Working one on one with a therapist is a great way to overcome your addiction to food. It's so important to understand why you became addicted to food. Your therapist will help you do just that.

Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous: This is a great online resource that offers help to those with food addictions.

Overeaters Anonymous: Overeaters Anonymous is another support group that offers a lot of great resources.

Food Addiction Treatment: Getting treatment in a professional setting will give you the best of both worlds. Professional treatment offers personal counseling and group therapy. This will give you the best chance of a successful recovery from your food addiction.

Get Treatment for Your Food Addiction Today

How long have you been battling a food addiction? Maybe it's something you've been struggling with for most of your life. It's possible that it's been so long that you've lost all hope for recovery. The good news is that you don't have to lose hope. There is a way for you to recover from your food addiction.

Getting the right kind of treatment can help you more than you realize. It's so beneficial to sit down with others who share in your addictive behaviors. You'll learn that you're not alone, and you'll gain so much knowledge from others' experiences. Talking with a counselor will also help you to understand the reasons behind your food addiction. Working with a nutritionist will give you the confidence you need to eat correctly and reach your goals.

These all take place when you go to food addiction treatment. Your addiction is a serious one. It's something that has profoundly affected your life in many ways. Here at Northpoint Washington, we want you to know that we can help you. We've been able to assist so many others who suffered with this condition. We want you to be next.

Are you battling a food addiction? If you're ready to get help, or if you simply need more information, please contact us.