Yes, It’s Real: 6 Things to Know About Being Addicted to Food

Most people acknowledge the science behind drug addiction, but food addiction is less widely understood. Learn more about the science of being addicted to food.

Do you feel as though you may have an addiction to food? According to a study that was conducted a few years ago, about five percent of the American population is addicted to food.

Food addiction can wreak havoc on the lives of those who have it. Those who are addicted to food often struggle with weight issues and aren’t always able to take any real pleasure in the simple act of eating.

Want to learn more about food addiction and what it entails? Here are six things you need to know about being addicted to food.

1. Food Addiction Is in the Same Family as Other Eating Disorders

There is still a lot of research being done on food addiction and how exactly it impacts a person. But so far, researchers have placed it into the same category as many other eating disorders, including bulimia and binge eating disorder.

They believe that when someone who is addicted to food eats certain types of foods, it triggers dopamine and other chemicals in the brain. When this happens, it appears as though food addicts experience a pleasurable rush that makes them feel good.

That rush doesn’t last for very long, though. Within just a few minutes, it disappears, which often sends a person scurrying back in the direction of their kitchen cabinets to eat again. 

2. It Doesn’t Always Lead to Weight Gain

As we alluded to earlier, a lot of the people who suffer from food addiction are also either overweight or obese. They eat so much food that they start packing on more pounds than they should in most cases.

But it’s worth noting that this isn’t always the case. There are some people who are addicted to food who don’t gain much weight at all. One study even suggested that about 10 percent of those who are dealing with food addiction are at a healthy weight or even underweight.

This means that you shouldn’t ignore the signs that you might be addicted to food simply because you’re not overweight. You could potentially have an addiction to food at any weight.

3. Some Foods Are More Closely Associated With It Than Others

Those who suspect they might be addicted to food are often asked to take the Yale Food Addiction Scale. It’s designed to let a person know whether or not they have anything to worry about when it comes to food addiction.

A person can technically be addicted to almost any kind of food. But generally speaking, those who are diagnosed with food addiction often struggle to abstain from eating specific types of foods.

These foods include:

  • Potato chips
  • Candy
  • Cookies
  • Ice cream
  • Chocolate

Foods with excess amounts of salt and sugar, in particular, seem to trigger food addiction in many people.

4. It Can Cause a Wide Range of Symptoms

Do you experience obsessive food cravings on a regular basis? Do you have a hard time thinking about anything except food when you’re not eating? Do you often eat compulsively when you get food in front of you?

These are just some of the symptoms associated with food addiction. You should look out for these signs of food addiction and consider seeking professional help if you notice any of them.

You should also reach out for assistance if you experience any of these symptoms:

  • Your obsession with food is taking a toll on your personal relationships
  • You feel unhappy or even depressed when you’re not able to eat when you want
  • You eat alone a lot to avoid feeling like other people are judging you while you eat
  • You eat so much in one sitting that you put yourself into physical pain by the time you’re done

These symptoms can make it impossible to lead a normal life. They can also lead to all sorts of health problems if you’re not careful.

5. It Can Also Cause Emotional Issues

Outside of impacting your physical health, food addiction can also hit your emotions hard. You’ll often find yourself dealing with a wide range of negative emotions while you’re working your way through an addiction to food.

Shame is the No. 1 emotion that those who are addicted to food struggle with. They also often feel guilty and experience reduced self-worth.

These emotional issues can be every bit as harmful to a person’s overall health and well-being as their physical issues. They may even lead to physical health issues over time.

6. It Can Be Treated in a Number of Different Ways

The good news for those who think they might have a food addiction is that there are ways to treat it. As long as you’re willing to ask for help, you can make your food addiction a thing of the past.

Some of the most popular treatment methods for food addiction are:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Solution-focused therapy
  • Trauma therapy
  • Medication
  • Hypnosis

Get more information about hypnosis and see how it might be able to help you. It might seem like an odd choice for food addiction treatment. But studies have shown that it may be able to help you break unhealthy eating habits.

Addicted to Food? Find the Help You Need Today

If you feel like you might be addicted to food, you might not know where to turn for help. Food addiction doesn’t get the same kind of publicity that other addictions do.

But you don’t have to let that stop you from seeking help. You might want to talk to your doctor about what you can do to curb your food addiction.

You might also want to schedule an appointment with a therapist or speak with a hypnotist about how they can help you. You’ll be surprised at just how helpful all of these people can be during your ongoing battle with food addiction.

Interested in learning more about addiction and how to overcome it? Read the articles on our blog about addictions of all kinds to get additional information on them.

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