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Food Addiction

eight Symptoms of Food Addiction

Whether we’re eating because we’re stressed or because we’re celebrating, food is a big part of life. It becomes a problem when we crave food even when we aren’t hungry, eating in response to emotions like anger, anxiety, and sadness. There's not a diagnosis in the DSM-5 for food addiction, but it usually includes binge eating, cravings, and an inability to control food intake.

What Is a Food Addiction?

A 2019 study describes three points of view taken by specialists. The first says that foods with high amounts of fat or carbohydrates are addictive, placing food addiction in the same category as substance abuse. The second claims that research has not found a specific substance that triggers compulsive eating, so it must be a behavioral disorder, not a substance disorder. The third theory argues that scientific evidence doesn’t support the first two claims, and labeling it as an addiction wouldn't make it easier to treat.

Some health care facilities and mental health professionals think food triggers feel-good chemicals in the brain the same way other substances do.

What are Food Addiction Symptoms?

Evidence-based studies identified eight symptoms of food addiction:

  • Cravings despite not being hungry
  • Unintentionally overeating
  • Eating even after feeling “stuffed”
  • Feeling guilty but doing the same thing again and again
  • Keeping overeating a secret
  • Setting rules but not being able to keep them
  • Not being able to stop even if it causes other problems

Besides these symptoms of food addiction, compulsive eating sometimes leads to self-induced vomiting, excessive exercise routines, and a refusal to eat.

Do I Have a Food Addiction?

There are no clear-cut answers for some questions: Do I have a food addiction? What is food addiction? What foods trigger compulsive eating?

There is a difference between someone who overeats and a compulsive eater. Regardless of how much it affects everyday activities and general well-being, a food addict can't stop eating. Like gamblers or alcoholics, they can't cut back or quit if they want to.

It's not unusual for people with a food addiction to have another co-occurring disorder like depression or anxiety, and that makes both conditions harder to treat. It also requires the help of experienced mental health professionals who know how to deal with both disorders. If, for example, the food addiction accompanies an addiction to alcohol or drugs, a detox and rehab center is equipped to handle both.

That brings us to another question: What is food addiction, and how can a detox center help? Medical detox is the first step on the journey to recovery, and it eases the transition to rehab. Holistic detox, a program that includes medical care and counseling, also integrates alternative healing therapies like meditation, equine therapy, and yoga.

At Enlightened Solutions, we offer 24/7 holistic detox and rehab, but we also help patients deal with the emotions that triggered their addiction. Contact us to get help now.

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