Food Addiction

With estimations that 64% of the UK’s population are classed as being overweight or obese, and statistics suggest that around 22% of the population have an addictive personality. This means that there are around 8896025 people who could be food addicts.

For some, addiction can sound like a cop out. It can be the excuse to continue or worse still, go deeper into the food in the belief that there is no hope. When in fact, this psychological setback merely means the person is susceptible to addictions, which can include anything from drugs and alcohol to pornography, gambling, Internet, video games, exercise, work, relationships, and in this case food.

Food addiction, like any other addiction presents with a spectrum of behaviours that can be habitual or even ritualistic. The person addicted to food eats compulsively (or indeed starves or purges compulsively). There are also impulsive behaviours, such as impulsive food shopping. And believe it or not, there is a physical addiction evident through withdrawal symptoms. To add to this, food addicts may switch from one addiction to another, giving a semblance of having control, or even sustain many different addictions.

Physical consequences can be obvious; increase in size, a growing number of ailments and associated illness, for example increased risk of heart conditions, diabetes. Health services are already expressing concern about the escalating demand directly linked with obesity. There are less obvious effects, such as depression, low-self esteem, isolation, to name but a few.

The first step into treatment at Addiction Care enables the person to learn what addiction is and being able to apply that knowledge to themselves and see if they really are food addicts. From thereon they gain knew information and experience how to take back control, with a programme of abstinence. This might sound odd! After all we have to eat. However, this is life changing treatment and now words can explain the experiential process that occurs to start living life accordingly, free from the perils of addiction.

Pamela Roberts on behalf of Addiction Care