Addiction is often pigeonholed as only involving drugs or alcohol. When people hear addiction, their mind conjures images of cocaine or alcoholism, failing to acknowledge the complexity of the disease. This does many a disservice; addiction enslaves far more people than just those who deal with drugs or alcohol. Addiction is a disease that takes no prisoners, and can affect virtually any individual in a variety of surprising ways. Most surprising is that a simple, daily activity for some can actually manifest as an addiction for others. Food addiction is a serious problem, and is more than just eating a great deal of food.
Food addiction, on the surface, seems like a simple addiction. However, it’s extremely complex, and can be just as dangerous as a drug addiction. Food addiction operates in nearly the same way as most other addictions. If an individual finds great pleasure in eating and continues to overeat, it can easily lead to an addiction. Food can easily trigger dopamine releases in the brain, and like we talked about yesterday, is recognized by the brain as being incredibly important as eating relates to survival.
Food addiction is directly related to binge eating, and is defined as continued overeating to the point where one has lost control. Guilt and depression often follow binges, and result in lowered social activity and can result in long term mental health issues. Many also participate in grazing, or the eating of food throughout the day. Naturally, these activities can lead to serious physical health issues including an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
Similar to how alcoholism can lead to depression, or prescription drug abuse can lead to anxiety, food addiction can lead to a variety of other serious and life threatening disorders. A food addiction can lead to anorexia, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder, all of which are extremely hazardous to one’s health.
Eating is one of the many things we do that often triggers the release of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. These chemicals create pleasure, and make us want to repeat whatever we did to release these chemicals. For some, this pull is too much, and it can take over their life.