True Addiction or Lack of Willpower?
Even though science is still working to understand and find treatments for food addiction, scientists have come to the conclusion that there is more to food addiction that just a pure lack of control.
Recent experiments performed on both animals and humans showed that the same reward and pleasure centers in the brain that are triggered by addictive drugs such as cocaine for example, may also be activated by certain foods, particularly foods rich in sugar, fat and salt.
Food Addiction can be thought of as a biochemical disorder that occurs at a cellular level and therefore cannot be cured by willpower alone.
Individuals suffering from a food addiction will go out of their way to find the food type they are craving, and in addition will often then consume amounts far beyond the point of satiety.
Also, a tolerance towards the food type develops with time, where more and more of the particular substances are required in order to provide the same level of satisfaction.
As is the case with other addictions, sudden abstinence from the food type can lead to withdrawal symptoms. These include physical symptoms, but also emotional symptoms such as feelings of anxiety and guilt.
It is extremely difficult to beat a food addiction, maybe even more difficult than what is the case with other addictions such as drugs or alcohol.
The reason for this is that consuming food is not against the law, it is readily available, one cannot survive without food and it is relatively cheap when compared to drugs and alcohol.
Besides the risk for developing food allergies, which funny enough exaggerates the craving for that particular food type, food addiction’s main side effect is weight gain.
Weight gain affects self-esteem, relationships and health in general, and so the vicious cycle continues. People with normal weight may however also be affected by food addiction.
A nutritionist, psychologist, or doctor who is educated about food addiction may be able to help you break the cycle of compulsive eating.
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