Food addiction is a serious disorder where the addict (eater) has
the craving and compulsion to eat quantities of food that far
surpass his or her dietary needs.
There is a difference between occasional overeating and habitual
overeating. An analogy to consider here is alcohol abuse. Many of us
are guilty of binge drinking but few of us progress to fully blown
alcoholism. The same applies to eating. Over indulgence on occasion
will not necessarily lead to food addiction.
It is important to realise that there are also similarities between
overeating and overindulging in drugs other than alcohol. Substance
abuse is a good example of this. Any substance taken into the body,
good or bad, can have serious effects when taken in sufficient
Those who abuse these substances, food included, can become mentally
and often physiologically dependent on them. In the case of food,
these dependencies go beyond what we consider as basic hunger. They
become an addiction.
Fortunately, help is available today because our society better
understands the complexities of food addiction and its similarities
with substance abuse.
Some questions that should be considered to determine your food
addiction are -
Do you eat when not hungry?
Do you eat large amounts of food?
Do you continue to eat when you really want to stop?
Do you think about food most of the time?
Do you eat in secret?
Do you eat when you feel depressed?
Do you feel guilty after eating?
Do you eat food, knowing it's harmful?
Answering yes to any of these questions does not necessarily mean
that you are addicted to food, but answering yes to them all or the
majority of them would certainly suggest that you are addicted.
Once you have established and admitted your addiction, only then can
you move forward.
How you do this all depends on what kind of food addiction you have.
Some will require medical treatment whilst others may require only
will and determination.
Neither of these options is easy but will require self discipline
and a change in your habits and lifestyle but will be well worth the
effort. Avoid trying to lose weight too quickly. This will rarely
work with food addicts and may do more harm than good because of
both physiological and psychological dependencies.