You may not think of food as an substance known to cause addiction; however those that have a food addiction have many of the same characteristics and symptoms of those addicted to other substances such as drugs or alcohol. These people, who are addicted to food, will have cravings â€” mental, emotional and physical â€” just as other addicts experience.
Characteristics of food addictions can include the following:
–No self-control or a lack of control concerning food.
–Compulsive behavior concerning food that can result in negative cycles including binge eating.
–Having a preoccupation or obsession when dealing with food
–Having a sense of comfort or pleasure about food and subsequently not be able to control food intake due to those feelings.
–Physical cravings that cause a need to eat.
Just as with other addicts, food addicts are the only ones who can really acknowledge their addictions. And some of the questions that potential addicts can reflect upon include:
–The inability to control their eating.
–Is the person eating in secret or hiding food?
–Is there are feeling of guilt and remorse when eating or after?
–Are there emotions involved with eating?
–Is weight being affected by eating?
Other symptoms that a food addict may experience include depression, mood changes, irritability, sleeplessness and headaches.
There are many ways to treat an addiction to food. Professional consultation with an eating disorder specialist, doctor, counselor or other professional is probably on the frontline of seeking help. Also, just with other addicts there are programs such as Overeaters Anonymous that can help a food addict with his or her addiction.
An addict can also become aware of what triggers a need to eat and try to avoid those when possible. Drinking 64 ounces of water per day as well as exercising has been shown to help.