Can You Get Addicted to Food? 6 Symptoms & Treatment

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Food cravings are as common as anything. It is okay to crave your favorite food every once in a while. But what if the urge becomes uncontrollable. That’s what’s called food addiction. Many people think that that’s not a thing.

junk food

The fact is, a person can become addicted to food. Food addiction is the strong urge to eat unhealthy junk food even when you know it’s bad for your health and body. There are many symptoms to tell if a person is suffering from food addiction and treatments for the same. 

Food addiction is quite similar to other types of addictions. Food addictions bar people from staying away from specific preparations, even after several soulful tries. It falls in the range of other eating disorders like binge eating disorder, bulimia, compulsive overeating, etc.

That being said, normal overeating behavior doesn’t account for food addiction. There are actual symptoms that one can notice before concluding that a person has a food addiction. Let’s take a deeper look at what food addiction is and its symptoms and treatments.

What Is Food Addiction?

junk food

Food addiction is a kind of eating disorder that makes people consume junk food uncontrollably and make them inclined toward it. It is similar to drug addiction. Even if they don’t want to, some people repeatedly find themselves consuming a large number of unhealthy foods.

They may know that consuming those foods may cause harm but still can’t control the urge to eat them. Over time, it can cause multiple health issues. Many people even fall prey to obesity and heart problems. Adults face more complicated health issues. 

Food addiction can occur in anyone, irrespective of age or sex. Seeking professional medical help in the form of treatment can prevent this behavioral addiction. Sometimes, food addiction can cause a suffocating effect on the victims’ lives, especially when they are in front of junk food.

Many reasons cause food addiction in a person. Let’s discuss those briefly as well.

What Are The Causes Of Food Addiction?

junk food

There are a lot of factors that drive a person towards food addiction. Several biological, physiological, and psychological factors have a part to play in a person’s food addiction.

The biological factors include hormonal abnormalities and brain-structure abnormalities. It can also be caused due to certain medication or if a family member has the same issues.

That being said, physiological factors can be a big factor in someone’s food addiction or eating disorders. People can develop food addiction if they have suffered emotional or sexual abuse. People who have been victims or survivors of trauma are also likely to develop this addiction.

It can also be developed in people who have suffered a loss, are grieving, or have chronic low self-esteem.

The psychological factors that lead to a food addiction are unhealthy coping mechanisms, social isolation, abuse faced as a child, and stressful life.

Other than these factors, there can also be a number of factors that can lead a person towards food addiction. It could be a history of eating disorders or substance abuse. These factors can only be healed through help.

Keeping this in mind, experts, with their professional helpcan provide innovative and comprehensive treatment procedures to treat food addiction.

The treatment is safe and is done in a supportive environment. The treatment process includes a full diagnosis of the disorder and customizing the stages to meet the patient’s needs. Most of the treatment is done with traditional and holistic approaches.

Rehab centers offer food addiction treatment that can be healed from the core and ensure a successful and long-term recovery. 

Why Should You Seek Professional Help For Food Addiction?

Bear in mind that overeating can be harmful. Yes, it’s better that you eat to exist, not exist to eat. People who are deep into food addictions should seek professional medical help because some negative ramifications can cause problems in the long run.

If left untreated, they can affect the person drastically, emotionally and physically. It may also damage relationships, make it difficult to manage professional fields, and ultimately wreak havoc from the overall perspective.

So, before it’s too late and you finally decide to seek ways out of the addiction, you should seek professional help from reputed rehab centers. 

Health Conditions That Arise Due To Food Addiction

Food addiction can also have a lot of repercussions on your health that must be considered. It is very important to seek treatment before extensive damage is done. Some of the health conditions caused by food addiction are:

  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Depression
  • Elevated cholesterol
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Emotional detachment
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Financial problems

What Are The Symptoms Of Food Addiction?

junk food

There are definitely signs a person shows that can tell if they have a food addiction. The signs range from mild to alarming, and if you suspect that someone is suffering from it, I have mentioned the things you should look for are.

1. Getting Cravings Even After Feeling Full

One symptom of food addiction is having strong food cravings even you feel full. Having cravings is a common occurrence, but when the cravings become hard to ignore.

2. Over-Eating

Over-eating is a very common occurring symptom of food addiction. This includes eating more food than you intended to and eating until you feel excessively full.

When one cannot control their cravings, they might give in and intend to eat just a little. But they might end up eating a whole lot.

The other scenario is that they can’t stop eating until they feel excessively food. These might indicate that one is suffering from food addiction.

3. Feeling Guilty But Repeating 

After eating excessively, one might feel guilty about over-eating and over-indulging. But even though people feel bad about eating excessively, they deliberately repeat the same patterns and eating behaviors.

This is because the urge to eat is very strong, and it becomes very difficult to control them. So, the person suffering from food addiction will overeat even if they feel guilty about it.

4. Repetitively Failing Set Rules

When they feel guilty about overeating, many people try to set rules regarding their eating habits. But people suffering from food addiction often fail to follow these rules as it becomes very hard to control urges.

5. Hiding and Eating Food

People with food addiction also seem to hide their eating habits from family and friends. This may be because of the repetitiveness of setting rules and failing at them.

People tend to eat alone when nobody’s around or eat in their rooms or even in cars. This also maybe because they don’t want anyone stopping them.

6. Unable To Quit

As I already mentioned, overeating can cause a lot of physical strain and health conditions. But some people can’t seem to quite unhealthy and junk food even when they know it’s affecting their health. This is also another symptom of food addiction.

What Are The Treatments For Food Addiction?

Therapy

We saw the symptoms of food addiction. Now, let’s the treatments for it. There are no drugs that are prescribed for food addiction yet. So, therapy and programs are the remaining options. Here are a few treatments for food addiction.

1. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

CBT helps teach patients how they can overcome their addiction to certain foods. It helps determine how feelings and thoughts can change based on the habit.

When seeking Cognitive Behavioral therapy, it helps if you look for a therapist who has experience dealing with food addictions and eating disorders.

2. Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical Behavioural therapy can be a great treatment if a person has developed a food addiction due to unhealthy coping mechanisms or stressful life events.

DBT teaches how to regulate emotions, tolerate stress, and improve relationships. These together can reduce the desire for food and help with your nutritional and mental health goals.

3. Nutritional Counseling

Most rehab centers have a team of qualified dieticians and nutritionists who can help cultivate healthy eating habits. They help patients understand the primary cause of eating foods and the vital components required to maintain a healthy living condition.

A psychologist or nutritionist who is adept in dealing with the issues related to food addictions can undoubtedly help to break the cycle of overeating. Remember, it is crucial to live in a healthy condition to taste your favorite platters, even in the long run. 

4. 12-Step Programs

12-step programs are a great way to resolve addictions. The most common one is alcoholism. It’d be great to find a program that aims toward food addiction.

In a 12-step program, people with a similar addiction (food addiction) have meetings. People with food addiction eventually find a sponsor who pays for their dietary and nutritional needs to get better.

It is also great for social interaction and learning about other’s people’s struggles and their determination to overcome them.

Some great 12-step programs for food addiction are;

  • Overeaters Anonymous
  • Greysheeters Anonymous
  • Food Addicts Anonymous
  • Food Addicts In Recovery Anonymous

Bottom Line

So, this was all about food addiction, its causes, symptoms, and treatments. If you know or are someone who is suffering from food addiction, it’s important to recognize the symptoms and seek help at the right time. I’ll see you next time. Until then, stay healthy!

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