Tasty food brings joy and makes us a little happier. But sometimes, the need for it becomes unmanageable. If you notice these symptoms on your own, it may be time to see a specialist.
Food addiction is a mental disorder in which a person eats food not to satisfy hunger but to cheer up and get pleasant emotions. For people with food addiction, food helps to cope with anxiety, and it helps relieve stress.
With the help of food, a person supposedly solves his problems – troubles at work, in the family, in communicating with people. For example, you get tired and stressed at work, no matter how much a box of sweets or cakes can cheer you up?
A quarrel with a loved one can turn into a real feast, after which comes a misunderstanding and bewilderment of why this was all done. Food gives a person a sense of satisfaction, after which he calms down.
A person, “seizing” his problems, concentrates on taste sensations, his mood rises, and negative emotions disappear.
When a person eats, he calms down and forgets about his troubles. In this way, food acts as the most available antidepressant. But if food helps to distract from problems for a while, they will not go anywhere, and eventually, they will have to be solved.
The opposite happens – dependence on food arises not from the presence of problems but their absence. At some point, it may seem that life is boring, or sometimes people say that “melancholy attacks,” or maybe a person lacks vivid impressions, or he suffers from idleness. In all these cases, the refrigerator will “wait” for him.
This process leads to even more significant problems that affect a person and his self-esteem: obesity, lack of self-control, metabolic disorders, depression.
Signs of food addiction
Like other types of addiction, food addiction has many characteristics:
- Constant and obsessive thoughts about food – what to eat, what to buy in the store, what delicious to cook;
- The impossibility of self-control in food. For example, a person who has a whole box of chocolates in front of him finds it challenging to limit himself to one or two chocolates.
- An instant sharp desire for any food. For example, even though a person recently dined, if he sees cakes on the counter of the store, he buys several pieces and eats them;
- If a person has experienced any stress, he has a desire to eat something as compensation for the trouble that happened;
- Frequent promises of a person to reward himself with “something tasty” after he makes any unpleasant necessity. For example, “I will clean the house and then buy myself a chocolate bar because I deserve it”;
- The lack of the desired food leads a person to unpleasant physical sensations.
Causes of food addiction
Food addiction refers to the emotional circle of habits, when, with the help of a particular behavior, type of activity, occupation, a person makes up for emotional deficits.
The leading causes of food addiction form in early childhood: food replenishing the lack of love, recognition, attention to oneself, resistance to negative emotions and fears, acquiring stress resistance through food, receiving consolation and support through food, rooting the belief that food is the primary a safe source of pleasure.
Food Addiction Treatment
The method of correcting food addiction includes complex therapy. An internationally recognized form of treating eating disorders uses psychotherapy, body-oriented therapy, and dietology.
Usually, the treatment of people with food addiction is carried out simultaneously by two specialists: a nutritionist and a psychotherapist. Frequent meetings with a doctor, or even better with a group of the same people, will constantly support and motivate you to follow the diet.
As a rule, such sessions taught them to reconsider their attitude to food. Special programs aim at realizing that food is not a reward or a cure for troubles but just a way to get the substances necessary for a fulfilling life.
It should note that when trying to limit food intake, such people become irritable, aggressive, or depressed. After all, food for people with food addiction is both medicine, and consolation, and doping. That is why such people continue to eat. However, a large amount of food contributes to the appearance of an increasing number of diseases in them: obesity, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, etc.
The main thing in recovering from food addiction is the awareness of the problem and the understanding of the actual need: food or the joyful emotions that a person receives from it.
After that, you need to learn to take pleasure and joy out of life in other ways. Joy hormones produce from food and many things present in our lives: playing sports, an exciting hobby, chatting with friends, dancing, etc.
Family therapy is also an essential part of treatment. A family therapist can help spouses get out of a difficult situation, talk out and find a standard solution to problems.
Of course, at first, breakdowns are inevitable, but you need to be ready for this and not give up a new life after the first failure.
Food addiction is generally curable, but it takes hard work and great desire. It is tough to grasp when a person crosses the line between straightforward enjoyment and food addiction. It is hard to do because most people do not recognize that they have specific problems. Even if a person realizes that he is overeating, he thinks that he can stop at any time and lose weight in no time. But this is just an illusion.
It isn’t easy to take the very first step on the path to healing. But you need to understand that food is not the only source of pleasure. How many other positive emotions a person addicted to food deprives himself.
He cannot fully communicate with friends and family while experiencing the full range of feelings, see the beauty of the world around him, enjoy delightful music, an exciting book, etc. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is much more difficult for one to cope with a misfortune than with someone else.