Last updated: 11/15/2018
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 3 minutes
As of 2008, obesity rates within the United States reached 35.7 percent of the population, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. At the current rate, this number is expected to reach 50 percent by the year 2030. No doubt, food addictions have greatly contributed to the country’s obesity epidemic. Fast foods, pastries, pastas and any number of high-calorie, high-salt and high-fat foods make-up the bulk of a food addict’s dilemma.
Food addiction recovery addresses food obsessions at their root where chemical effects on the body and emotional triggers actually run the show. Food addiction recovery uses a psychological and/or behavioral approach to help affected people develop healthy lifestyle perspectives and habits.
Food Addiction Recovery
Unbeknownst to many, certain types of foods actually trigger chemical reactions in the brain that closely resemble those experienced when a person ingests cocaine. Whether it’s the high sugar, salt or fat contents or the variety of additives and preservatives added to foods, these chemical reactions can quickly develop into addictions over time. The commonly heard phrase, “Once I eat one cookie (chip, candy, donut) I have to eat them all,” has addiction written all over it as someone who can’t stop eating has essentially lost his or her sense of self-control.
Food addiction recovery helps a person deal with both the physical and behavioral components of addiction. In cases where a person’s addiction centers on a particular type of food, such as sweets, food addiction recovery uses a detoxification process to help him or her flush out all effects of the food from the system. Along with ongoing food cravings, most people also experience withdrawal effects during the detoxification period. Food addiction recovery offers supportive treatments and nutrition-based healing to help ease participants through this difficult time.
Once unhealthy foods are flushed from the system, physical food cravings decrease considerably. It’s at this point a person can start to develop a healthier perspective and relationship towards food and the role it plays in everyday life. Inpatient food addiction recovery programs offer a tightly structured treatment environment where people receive valuable information on addiction and how to better manage their dietary intake.
Outpatient food addiction recovery programs offer supports and guidance for the long-term through psychotherapy treatment, group counseling and 12-step support groups. Once a person completes treatment, 12-step support meeting provide an ongoing source of support and guidance for recovering food addicts.
Food Lifestyle Changes
As with any other type of addiction, food addictions evolve into a lifestyle that centers around food. When addiction becomes an issue, it’s not so much the food that’s the problem, but the underlying emotional issues and unresolved conflicts that actually drive a person to turn to food.
The ultimate goal of food addiction recovery treatment is to help recovering food addicts develop new healthy, productive lifestyles where food no longer holds center stage. By taking part in psychotherapy, group counseling and 12-step programs, such as Overeaters Anonymous and Food Addicts Anonymous provide, recovering food addicts learn how to work through the issues that drive food addiction behaviors.