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Food Addiction

Food Addiction

When most people think of food addiction they think of somebody, usually obese, eating huge quantities of food with no control. In truth, this is a very narrow concept of food addiction as the larger medical community recognizes it. While the definition of food addiction does include obese overeaters, it also includes more common eating disorders that many are already familiar with, such as bulimia and anorexia. A food addiction is, essentially, any sort of unhealthy relationship with food.

But for those who don't suffer from a food addiction, it's often difficult to comprehend why somebody would eat in ways that are destructive to their health. Why not just eat less, or eat more consume in a way that is conducive to good health? According to some health specialists, the matter might not be as simple as that.

The cause of such addictions vary depending on the specialist, but propositions have been put forth suggesting everything from moral weakness to genetic predisposition with everything from cultural pressure to a seemingly simple matter of bad-habit formation in between. Some studies have suggested that, like other substance addictions, there is a neurochemical association, in which, say for compulsive overeaters, the smell or even a sample taste of a food releases dopamine in the brain, a similar to what happens to substance abusers when they get their fix.

Essentially, it comes down to a matter of whether to classify food addictions as true addiction, or as psychological disorders. Evidence exists for it to be a case of either. Perhaps as the phenomenon is further studied and understood, it will become evident which to classify it or  if that the truth is a combination of the two. Regardless, with more knowledge will come better forms of treatment.

As stands now, addiction recovery is possible through such groups as FA (Food Addictions in Recovery Anonymous), which act as education and support groups. Those wishing to recover from their food addictions follow a similar 12-step recovery program as AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), and FA boasts a growing number of recovering addicts with 5 to 10 years of life free of food abuse, and large number of members who can boast 1 to 2 years of the same.

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