Coping with Food Addiction

Coping with Food Addiction-1

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Food. It nourishes us, sustains us, and brings us together. But for some, food becomes more than sustenance; it takes on the characteristics of an addiction, hijacking our emotions and behaviors.


Contrary to popular belief, food addiction is a real psychological complication that leads to physical and emotional turmoil. People can develop eating disorders owing to the condition like binge eating.


The worst part of food addiction may be the fact that the condition leaves people feeling powerless and trapped in a cycle of cravings, binges, and shame. It also affects people physically, leading to complications like obesity and overeating tendencies.


We will examine food addiction and how people’s eating behavior can affect their well-being.


What is Food Addiction?

Before we explore the coping mechanisms associated with unhealthy food consumption, it makes sense for us to understand the basics. What is a binge eating disorder, and is it the same as food addiction?


Some studies indicate that food addiction shares a lot of similarities with drug addiction. Highly processed foods, often laden with sugar, unhealthy fats, and refined carbohydrates, trigger the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with reward.


People who have compulsive overeating behavior often find themselves trapped in this vicious cycle of overeating. They feel a loss of control around food and often find it hard to avoid their trigger foods.


Some of the factors that contribute to food addiction include:

Genetics contribute to eating disorder

There are research papers that highlight that people have a genetic predisposition towards food addiction as they do with substance use disorder. These people are often addicted to eating certain foods and experience a lack of control when they are around certain foods.


Stress can lead to the symptoms of food addiction

You must have heard about emotional eating when people are stressed. To be fair, some people use food as a coping mechanism. They eat their feelings, and highly palatable foods usually make the ct during those moments of stress.


Early life experiences trigger binge eating disorder

Another factor that contributes to the signs and symptoms of food addiction is the early life experiences with their eating habits. Having dysfunctional relationship involved with food often end up contributing to the signs of food addiction in adulthood or later in life.


People with food addiction often fail to see and acknowledge the signs and symptoms, which is key. If you want to break free from the cycle of food addiction, it’s quintessential to pay close attention to the physical symptoms.

Coping with Food Addiction

What are the Symptoms of Food Addiction?

Consuming large amounts of food is not necessarily the only sign of someone dealing with food addiction. The frequency at which the food is consumed, the emotional factors involved, and the social consequences must also be addressed.


Food addiction is difficult to acknowledge and treat, which is one of the reasons why many of the symptoms are brushed under the carpet. What you need to do is identify the symptoms first.


Craving trigger foods and loss of control

Feeling unable to stop eating, even when feeling uncomfortably full, is one of the telltale signs that something is wrong. Addiction and obesity often go hand in hand, and the effects of food addiction often lead to people eating large portions of food even though they know they shouldn’t.


Pre-occupation with food is one of the signs of food addiction

Constantly think about the next meal or plan food-related activities. Overeaters often finish their current meals, feel the need to eat, and consistently think about their next meals immediately. Their relationship with food is often unhealthy, and their food cravings usually consist of junk food instead of healthy food.


Eating junk food despite negative consequences is one of the signs and symptoms of food addiction

Continuing to overeat despite experiencing health problems, social isolation, or financial strain. This explains why patients with binge eating disorder often find it hard to consume food. It often triggers the brain’s pleasure centers, making it difficult to stop eating.


Withdrawal symptoms

People with obesity, drug addiction, and food addiction often experience withdrawal symptoms when they are trying to get help for food addiction or cutting down on food as well. It can also lead to a constant cycle of craving more unhealthy food. Experiencing irritability, etc., is also part of the withdrawal.


How to Overcome Food Addiction?

Some foods are addictive and can lead to weight gain when you are eating without any control. However, in some cases, the situation can worsen, leading to a poor relationship with food.


Following are a few factors that can help people overcome their addiction to food:

Identify triggers to overcome food addiction

Consuming the food that you like doesn’t automatically mean that you have an addiction. However, if you have certain foods that push you over the edge and lead to compulsive eating, feelings of guilt, and negative emotions, that’s a sign that you need help.


Plan and prepare to get help for food addiction

If you find discrepancies in your eating patterns, that’s a sign that you need to plan and prepare for the treatment. You can start to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but the key here is to identify what’s contributing to the negative issues associated with food and join support groups or overeaters anonymously to overcome the complications.


Practice mindful eating

Behavioral addictions involving food can often be managed with food choices and mindful eating. These practices allow you to be in the present and find better ways to navigate the complexities. Take the time to savor the taste of meals and be thankful for them.


Get professional help if you are a food addict

If the situation is as bad as substance addiction, it is a sign that you need professional help. Working with leading treatment centers like Sober Centre enables you to get the help you need and overcome any type of addiction related to food, even if it has become an eating disorder.


Final Words

Your struggles with food addiction can be treated with the right approach. You need to focus on identifying the shortcomings and getting help from professional platforms so things work out for you in the long run. Professionals at Sober Centre offer ongoing support to help you overcome these complications.


Trigger foods vary from one person to the other. However, these usually consist of junk and processed food, for the most part.

If you are experiencing a loss of control when it comes to food and the kind of relationship you have with food, that's a sign of food addiction.

Besides getting professional help, some other practical tips include planning for healthy meals, practicing mindful eating, prioritizing quality of life, etc.

Studies indicate that cognitive behavioral therapy is quite effective in helping overcome the triggers associated with food addiction and build a healthy relationship with food.

Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to irregular hormone levels, a key factor that triggers the onset of improper eating habits. Hence, prioritizing the quality of sleep is vital to overcoming food addiction.

Contributing Editor

Troy Wakelin – Co-Founder and Contributing Editor

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