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Food Addiction?

Discussion in 'Other Substances' started by Mypearl80, Feb 2, 2016.

  1. Mypearl80

    Mypearl80 Member

    Has anyone else heard of a food addiction? I am pretty sure someone I am close to has an addiction to food. He will not admit it but he may not eat constantly but when he does he eats a lot. When there is something he wants in the house, it becomes a race to eat it all and a competition to get some yourself. He has admitted that food makes him feel better. But is it an addiction, or does he just have an eating disorder?
    DN02 likes this.
  2. danjon

    danjon Senior Contributor

    There has been a few debates on here about what sort of behaviors constitute an "addiction". Some don't see things like "food addiction" or "internet addiction" as they would, say, an alcohol addiction. Personally, I would say that any behavior that is either compulsive or obsessive, and causes a negative effect in a person's life, can be classed as an addiction. But I'd be interested to see what other people say.
    Mypearl80 likes this.
  3. Tremmie

    Tremmie Community Champion

    I believe it can be both an eating disorder and and addiction. I have a similar problem, but mine is not as steady as your relative's. I tend to eat a lot when I am nervous, and if there is something I really like at home I tend to want to eat it all right away :( Your relative might be a binge eater, sadly overcoming this kind of issue can be so hard...
  4. IgCho

    IgCho Member

    I would agree with the idea that this would more likely be categorized as an eating disorder. However, there are clearly addictive substances that don't necessarily have physical dependency in the brain. As I understand in theory anything that can cause a significant dopamine release could become addictive. It's not out of the question to me that there could be people who suffer from a real behavioral addiction to food especially given our often unhealthy relationship to food and portion control in the modern world.
  5. Amelie Santos

    Amelie Santos Active Contributor

    I have a similar problem as well. I tend to eat massive amounts of food when I'm bored. But unlike Tremmie, not when I'm nervous or anxious about something. I don't know what kind of label to give it - all I know is that it's a big issue, and it needs to be resolved. It will help if he accepts that he needs help, which I think he does (I do too). Once he faces the problem, he'll be more inclined to be part of the solution.
    Mypearl80 likes this.
  6. L_B

    L_B Community Champion

    Yes food addiction does exist. There is actually a support group in the city that I live that deals with food addictions. They have meetings much the same as AA does. They deal with the freeing yourself of food addiction. It really is a problem for a lot of people and they need to learn how to stop food from controlling their lives. Food addiction can cause to many health problems and needs to be addressed like any other addiction\.
    Mypearl80 likes this.
  7. kgord

    kgord Community Champion

    I have a food addiction. I tried Overeaters Anonymous a couple of times. I got simply nothing out of that. However, a group that might be more behaviorally and emotionally based might be good. The problem is that many people don't recognize food as an addiction or disorder they think it is just people eating too much and a lack of willpower...when really it is using food to heal underlying emotional problems.
  8. danjon

    danjon Senior Contributor

    Exactly. Too many people look at the symptoms of a behavior and are quick to judge them as glutinous or greedy. But in my experience there's almost always a serious underlying psychological issue at play, which very often requires professional therapeutic intervention to solve and address it.
  9. 6up

    6up Community Champion

    Getting hungry very fast is a sign of diabetes. If not so then one risks getting overweight. There are many medical conditions associated to adding weight including heart disease and high pressure. We have to avoid eating excess food when we want to eat.
  10. Joethefirst

    Joethefirst Community Champion

    I don't know if it's an addiction, after all we have to eat to live. If we don't eat we will die it's a simple as that. There are eating disorders and those can reek havoc on your body.
  11. DN02

    DN02 Member

    Food addiction is a real addiction, it seems. According to some studies I came across, experiments in animals and humans show that, for some people, the same reward and pleasure centers of the brain that are triggered by addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin are also activated by food, especially highly palatable foods - foods that are rich in sugar, fat and salt. Apparently, like addictive drugs, highly palatable foods trigger feel-good brain chemicals such as dopamine.

    A report cited that researchers at Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Science & Policy have developed the following questionnaire to identify people with food addictions.

    Do these actions apply to you? Do you:
    • End up eating more than planned when you start eating certain foods
    • Keep eating certain foods even if you're no longer hungry
    • Eat to the point of feeling ill
    • Worry about not eating certain types of foods or worry about cutting down on certain types of foods
    • When certain foods aren't available, go out of your way to obtain them
    Mypearl80 likes this.
  12. Mypearl80

    Mypearl80 Member

    Wow! I was not expecting the comment section to be this full. From the comments I have some questions for him. I hope I can help him and help him see that he has an issue. Thank you so much!
  13. kgord

    kgord Community Champion

    I think in a way an eating addiction is the worst addiction to have, because we can quit everything else and never be bothered with it again,,however, no one can stop eating. All you can do is learn to manage it, and stop using food as your crutch when you are feeling lonely, want to celebrate whatever. There is nothing wrong with liking food...but it is never the answer to your problems like any other substance it can be exceedingly harmful.
  14. FuZyOn

    FuZyOn Community Champion

    I've known people who use food as an outlet, I kind of do too though it's not as severe. A food addiction is as serious as a drug addiction, they can both mess with your mood and can make you ill.
  15. kassie1234

    kassie1234 Community Champion

    Yup, I definitely think it's a real addiction and has real consequences for a person's health. I think the hardest part of it is that food is necessary for survival - so to be addicted to food, but to still need food for human life must be incredibly difficult. I also think that because of that, perhaps it's not viewed as seriously as addiction to illegal substances.
  16. Tsky45

    Tsky45 Community Champion

    It sounds like he may be a bit greedy. It shouldn't be a competition for everyone in the house to get something to eat. I think he may have a eating disorder or could just be really hungry. Who knows, it could be that he uses eating to deal with some form of depression. I have heard of people who have bad days resort to binge eating.
  17. MichelleVL

    MichelleVL Senior Contributor

    Hi MyPearl80! I think he may have both an eating disorder and an addiction. I've read about some research studies that have been performed, in which scientists have concluded that carbohydrates or sugars are indeed addictive. Once the brain recognizes the intake of sugar, the area of the brain where pleasure is registered becomes activated. Also it could be that your friend is struggling with depression and finds his comfort in food.
  18. Deeishere

    Deeishere Active Contributor

    I do that sometimes because my family has a tendency to eat up certain items in our house. So now If I really want something I just keep it in my room or label it as mine.....not all but a part of it. Ok that's not entirely true because I do have a whole bag of Fritos in my drawer. :eek: I just hate to want something only to find that it's gone! One thing that my household eats up is sweets. I am now trying to just not bring some things in the house. I think it will be good if I bring in more fruits and healthy snacks. I am trying but it's really hard.
  19. Tremmie

    Tremmie Community Champion

    Yes! That is a wonderful idea! If you need ideas for healthy snacks, then check out Pinterest! I'm getting all my ideas from there :) But if for now you want to just keep everything simple, then just bring fruit :)
  20. JerPostr98

    JerPostr98 Member

    Food is an interesting topic when it comes to addiction. I definitely agree with what some users have said about it being compulsive in nature. I find myself eating a lot of food just for the sake of eating food. Most of those foods have empty calories and do not benefit me in the long run. The pleasure of eating food can also provide a short-term benefit if you are grieving or stressed. So I can see how it resembles addiction in a way. However I am still iffy on the subject, and how I would classify it. We all have our different opinions!