Last updated: 02/20/2019
Author: Addictions.com Medical Review
Reading Time: 2 minutes
Food addiction is a problem affecting millions. Until recent years there was a common belief that an actual physical addiction to food did not exist, however, more scientific research has been done to prove that to be untrue. Food addiction comes in many forms, and some forms of food addiction can lead to extreme weight gain.
Those suffering with food addiction, who seek treatment may or may not experience weight loss. Similar to addictions such as drugs or alcohol, food addictions affect chemical reactions in the brain triggered by certain behaviors. This can cause a dependency on food items such as sugars or other sweets, salty foods, or excessively fatty foods, and can easily lead to the affected becoming over-weight or even obese.
Will I Lose Weight?
There are studies related to food addiction symptomology that may suggest that treatment for food addiction will not guarantee weight loss. Since the d2 dopamine gene marker for drug and alcohol addiction has been found in overeating adults who are not addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, the severity of the eating disorder has been discovered to actually hamper weight loss in some people.
In studies, the severity of food addictions were related to increased depression, binge eating, internalized weight bias/body shame, but not body satisfaction. Increased severity of food addiction was also related to less weight lost at around 7 weeks. People who are attempting to lose weight while trying to fight symptoms of food addiction may be especially prone to eating-related issues, internalized weight bias, and body shame. Importantly, findings provide evidence that food addiction may undermine efforts to lose weight. The pathology associated with addiction, such as tolerance and withdrawal could make the change to healthful eating habits extra difficult for the addicts.
Address Root Causes
Just like other addictions, there are root causes and triggers that need to be learned about ones’ food addiction. By getting treatment and counseling, the addict can discover these things about their addiction and can begin addressing them. If the addict and their medical professional can begin working on treating the root causes and find ways that work for the addict to address (or avoid) the triggers, they will then have a better success rate when it comes to weight loss.
Eating disorders and food addictions can ultimately be dangerous and lead to serious health issues. If you suspect that you or someone you love may suffer from food addiction, you should seek one of the many options of treatment available. This form of addiction can be overcome and lead to a healthier, happier and longer life.