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Do I Need Eating Addiction Treatment?

Last updated: 05/1/2019
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review

Reading Time: 2 minutes

For many people, it can be difficult to be certain of the issue of eating addiction. Some individuals eat a large amount in a small window which is called binge-eating disorder, and others feel that they are addicted to the action of eating, or to food itself. According to a study from the NCBI, “The concept of food addiction has been controversial historically,” but there are ways to know whether or not you may have a serious issue with the way you consume food.

Eating Disorders and Eating Addiction

Most people think of eating disorders as those which prevent individuals from eating because they are afraid to gain weight, like anorexia nervosa. But according to the NLM, binge-eating disorder can be described as “out-of-control eating.” This can sometimes be connected with an addiction to eating where a person is unable to stop even though they may want to.

But eating addiction doesn’t always go along with formally acknowledged types of eating disorders. Feeling that your addiction to eating has taken over your life will help you to admit that treatment could be the answer. But the first thing you must do is admit that you have a problem.

Do I Need Eating Addiction Treatment?

Ask yourself the questions below. If you answer yes to most of them, you may need treatment for eating addiction.

  • Do you eat often even though you are not hungry?
  • Do you feel that you have no control over how much, how often, or what you eat?
  • Do you eat to combat feelings of sadness, anger, loneliness, etc.?
  • Do you then “experience guilt, shame, and distress” as a reaction to your eating or overeating which causes you to eat more (NIH)?
  • Have you tried many times and in many different ways (including at-home dieting, portion control, dieting programs, etc.) to curb or change your eating habits and been unsuccessful each time?
  • Do you feel very uncomfortable, unhappy, or concerned constantly with your current “shape or weight” (NLM)?
  • Have you experienced health concerns or issues as a result of your eating, like:
    • Cardiovascular disease
    • High blood pressure
    • Diabetes
  • When you are not eating something, are you usually thinking about eating?
  • Does the amount of food you consume and the frequency of your eating habits make you unhappy, and still you feel that you are unable to stop on your own?

If you answered yes to the majority of these questions, treatment for eating addiction may be necessary. You may not have binge-eating disorder, but an inability to control your eating requires formal treatment, and usually “treatment involves monitoring, talk therapy, nutritional counseling, and sometimes medicines” (NLM).

These treatments can be beneficial to someone who has lost control of their eating habits, which is what addiction truly is: a loss of control and an inability to fight those once voluntary habits which have, over time, become compulsive.