Understanding Food Addiction – Are You Struggling With This Problem?

Those who have a food addiction have an uncontrollable craving for large amounts of food. Due to the uncontrollable cravings, those who have this obsession tend to have a lower quality of life physically, emotionally, socially, and even spiritually. Food addictions aren’t just overeating; it’s when the person can’t stop eating even if they want to. When a person gets to the point where they can’t control the amounts of food they eat, it’s time to seek professional help.  Understanding food addiction can help change some of the stigma attached to people who can’t control their food intake.

Understanding Food Addiction and the Symptoms

Many food addicts gain weight and have a high BMI (Body Mass Index), and have tried several ways to lose the weight, such as dieting, taking drugs, undergoing surgery, etc. No matter what they try, nothing creates a permanent solution. Struggling with this addiction can result in bulimia or even anorexia. There are standard symptoms that all individuals with a food addiction will have. If you notice any of the following symptoms in you or a loved one, seek help immediately:

  • Inability to control the intake of food, especially junk food or high sugar foods.
  • Trying different diets or weight loss programs, without a permanent solution.
  • Vomiting, using laxatives or exercising a lot to avoid weight gain after eating a lot.
  • Feeling depressed, hopeless, sad or ashamed of the amount being consumed.
  • Eating when upset or rewarding yourself with food for doing something good.
  • Eating in private so no one will see.
  • Avoiding social interactions because you are uncomfortable with how you look.
  • Stealing other people’s food.

Effects of Food Addiction

It’s important to understand the implications that food addiction may have on the various parts of your life. If this is left untreated, it can consume your life and create several chronic health conditions. The physical conditions that can be experienced include:

  • Heart disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Stroke
  • Obesity
  • Chronic fatigue, lethargy
  • Chronic pain
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Arthritis
  • Kidney or liver disease
  • Diabetes
  • Digestive problems
  • Malnutrition
  • Sleep disorders
  • Headaches

Additionally, there are psychological effects that food addiction can have on individuals. It can be debilitating to one’s mental health, especially when there is a lack of support. If we were better at understanding food addiction, fewer people would still struggle with the problem.

Some of the psychological effects of food addiction can include:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Panic attacks
  • Emotional detachment
  • Increased irritability
  • Increased feelings of anxiety
  • Feeling sad or hopeless

Treatment for Eating Disorders

Those who are struggling with an addiction to food experience a roller coaster of emotions. Living with this can prevent those affected from enjoying life to its fullest. By seeking the appropriate help, individuals struggling with an eating disorder can find the resources they need to address their addiction safely and efficiently. Many treatment centers specialize in this type of addiction and can help approach it healthily.

Additionally, there are several support groups that individuals with a food addiction can participate in, such as Food Addicts Anonymous, Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous and Overeaters Anonymous. These groups are 12-step based programs that address food addiction on a physical, emotional and spiritual level, offering the support needed for individuals to heal from this.

Recovering from Food Addiction

Feeling as though you have no control over the amount of food you eat and then feeling horrible about yourself due to the amount you have consumed can make a person feel irritable, exhausted, hopeless and sad.

Understanding food addiction is a big step toward helping someone take back control of their life.  If you would like more information, please contact us today at our toll-free number.

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