Compulsive Overeating / Emotional Eating
Obesity is a growing problem in the United States, and the population of obese individuals gets younger every year. What parents consider a very healthy appetite might very well be the beginning of a very serious addiction. Food addiction and obesity go hand in hand because of a causal relationship; one condition often leads to the other. Unfortunately, while obesity is a preventable disease and is a well-known condition worldwide, food addiction is an obscure pathological disorder that is very often not given due attention due to the difficulty of its detection and diagnosis. It is characterized by an abnormally strong craving to consume food, most of the time, food that is considered unhealthy and can be harmful to the individual.
The concept of food addiction, its harmful effects, and its nature as a psychological disorder has only been recently accepted by society and the medical profession, so treatment methods are relatively young. However, the similarity of food addiction to other substance addictions gives way to effective treatment methods derived from drug addiction treatment programs. Nowadays, whenever a substance is consumed or taken into the body even at the risk of harming one’s self, that substance is considered to be abused. Also, cravings or compulsions to take certain substances or engage in certain behaviors are now addressed immediately to prevent possible dependence and addiction.
As with any addiction, the core of food addiction is selfishness and loss of self-control. A food addict finds it impossible to stop eating even if he or she is already full. It is a disorder that harms an individual through two avenues – the physiological and the psychological. Food addicts can come in different shapes and sizes; they can be underweight, overweight, or of normal weight. The determining factor of food addiction is not body weight, but the obsession with food. This obsession comes at a very high price and can cause serious complications such as diabetes, obesity, and other gastric disorders, not to mention the psychological trauma it can cause an individual. The treatment of food addiction is not easy and will require major lifestyle and behavior modification; it is also important to determine the “trigger foods” – food items that trigger the cravings and cause various allergic symptoms.