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Binge Eating Disorder Health Center

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Food Addiction

Signs of Food Addiction continued...

The questionnaire also asks about the impact of your relationship with food on your personal life. Do these situations apply to you:

  • You eat certain foods so often or in such large amounts that you start eating food instead of working, spending time with the family, or doing recreational activities.
  • You avoid professional or social situations where certain foods are available because of fear of overeating.
  • You have problems functioning effectively at your job or school because of food and eating.

The questionnaire asks about psychological withdrawal symptoms. For example, when you cut down on certain foods (excluding caffeinated beverages), do you have symptoms such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Other physical symptoms

The questionnaire also tries to gauge the impact of food decisions on your emotions. Do these situations apply to you?

  • Eating food causes problems such as depression, anxiety, self-loathing, or guilt.
  • You need to eat more and more food to reduce negative emotions or increase pleasure.
  • Eating the same amount of food doesn't reduce negative emotions or increase pleasure the way it used to.

Help for Food Addiction

Science is still working to understand and find treatments for food addiction.

Some argue that recovery from food addiction may be more complicated than recovery from other kinds of addictions. Alcoholics, for example, can ultimately abstain from drinking alcohol. But people who are addicted to food still need to eat.

A nutritionist, psychologist, or doctor who is educated about food addiction may be able to help you break the cycle of compulsive eating.

There are also a growing number of programs that help people who are addicted to food. Some, like Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous, are based on the 12-step program that has helped many people addicted to alcohol, drugs, or gambling.

Others, like Food Addicts Anonymous, use the principles of the 12-step program along with strict diets that advise people to abstain from problem ingredients, like sugar, refined flour, and wheat.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on August 21, 2014
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