There are a lot of reasons to love food. It is fuel for the body that keeps you healthy and strong. It tastes delicious, so it is an instant reward. The problem emerges when food controls you instead of the other way around. If your food choices revolve around unhealthy things, a love of food can turn into a full-blown food addiction.
Food addiction might not sound like a serious problem. All that you need is some self-control, right? Not necessarily. According to numerous experts in eating disorders, as well as scientific research, food addiction is real and it can cause serious damage to your health. Addiction treatment in Florida can help overcome addictive behaviors and put you back in control over what and when you eat.
Food Addiction Affects the Brain Like Any Other Addiction
Identified as a behavioral addiction, addiction to food is not without its controversy. Some believe food addiction is not real. VeryWell says it is “not currently recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.” However, research is ongoing.
According to the Food Addiction Institute, hundreds of scientific studies point to food addiction as a legitimate disorder. As with drugs and alcohol, food may interfere with dopamine and serotonin receptors. Sugar is already known to cause “insulin malfunctions,” the Food Addiction Institute explains. Research draws parallels between certain foods and the effects of heroin, morphine, nicotine, caffeine, and cocaine.
Certain Foods are More Likely to Cause Addiction
As you might expect, certain foods are the major culprits. Sugar, fat and salt, says WebMD, are tasty and “trigger feel-good brain chemicals” such as dopamine. As with drug consumption, the brain adapts to the pleasurable sensation of food, leaving a craving for more of the same. Food addiction can also be an underlying or co-occurring disorder that accompanies drug or alcohol addiction.
That is why people tend to overeat, according to WebMD. Pleasure signals from the brain override logic and the sensation of fullness. Further, some people develop a tolerance to foods, needing more and more of the same to get the same feel-good sensations from indulging.
Getting help might feel like an overreaction if you do not consider the addictive potential of the foods you love most. However, resisting treatment only delays recovery and a renewed sense of control over food choices.
Signs That You Are in the Grips of a Food Addiction
Like any addiction, food addictions have several signs. Some of them might be obvious to others, such as your friends and family members. Many of them will be obvious to you if you suffer from food addiction.
According to Healthline, these signs point to an unhealthy relationship with food. If you agree with four or five of them you might have a problem. More than six, and you might have an addiction.
- Cravings regardless of whether or not you are hungry
- Specific cravings, such as for sugary foods
- Eating more than you planned
- Eating until you feel uncomfortably full
- Guilty feelings after indulging
- Making excuses for eating foods that you know are unhealthy
- Unsuccessful attempts at cutting out or cutting back on certain foods
- Hiding food wrappers or other indicators that you have eaten unhealthy foods
- Lack of control over what you eat, even when your health is compromised
Eating disorders are often part of a larger addiction problem. Addiction treatment in Florida develops a customized, integrated plan that helps unravel both the complexities of each substance and how the addictions interact with each other. Treatment may include psychotherapy, detox, medication, nutritional support,12-step programs and more. Follow-up treatment helps keep you on track for the long haul.
If you or someone you care about are suffering from an addiction to unhealthy foods, there is help. Call now to learn more about admissions and treatment options.