Highly palatable foods often contain unnatural substances or higher-than-normal levels of natural substances that your body and brain can't process. Food addiction, while not defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of Mental Disorders as a psychiatric condition, resembles drug and alcohol addiction in many ways, and many mental health professionals agree that food addiction is a real condition. There are also a myriad of support groups that you can become involved with, such as Food Addicts Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, and Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous. By seeking the appropriate help and care you need, you can find the resources to address your addiction to food in an effective manner. Food addicts become dependent upon the “good” feelings that are obtained from consuming certain foods, which often perpetuates a continued need to eat, even when not hungry. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. People make jokes about eating disorders and binge eating, like in the Instagram post above, but it can become a serious problem if the cycle persists. Living with an addiction to food may be preventing you from enjoying a life you once lived, though the possibility for healing always exists. The findings did, in fact, support the idea that food addiction is possible. And, because your brain will adjust its receptors to compensate for the rush of chemicals, you'll eventually need to consume increasing quantities of highly palatable foods to get the same feel-good reaction. Additionally, some scientists argue that ignoring the potential addictiveness of foods can lead to public health issues just like other addictions. People with food addiction may find themselves avoiding social gatherings, eating alone or in secrecy and being preoccupied with food. The information contained on or provided through this service is intended for general consumer understanding and education and not as a substitute for medical or psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment. In an OA program, abstinence from trigger foods is key, Cohen says. However, for many individuals, food addiction can become as serious as drugs are to a substance abuser. "The guilt that then surrounds the eating episodes ('I ate too many cookies') then triggers a restriction cycle ('I am never buying those cookies again') and the pattern continues.". Masterson puts it poignantly: "Well, for the most part, someone with a food addiction isn't exactly going to be hooked on broccoli.". An increasing number of studies have established the prevalence and correlates of food addiction. As for when to seek help, Masterson says to look at how food is affecting your life. For information about services, visiting, and connecting to care, click here. These are just a few of the examples that overlap with both substance and behavioral addictions, she says, noting that the more criteria present from the DSM, the more severe the addiction. If you need professional support to help you lose weight, talk to your primary care physician to see if a medical weight-loss program or bariatric surgery is right for you.

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