Managing an addiction can be very difficult, as anyone who has ever battled with smoking, alcohol, or caffeine will agree.
One method is to simply go cold turkey – to cut out the thing you’re addicted to completely. But what if the thing you are addicted to is key to your survival?
As obesity levels reach worrying proportions, the scientific community is starting to look for connections between overeating and addiction.
The EU has even launched a project called NeuroFAST to collate evidence that there is a link between the two.
There is currently only one eating disorder where addiction may play a role, and that is binge eating disorder.
Binge eating disorder can be a distressing and even life threatening psychological disorder. One former overeater, an articulate professional named Michael, said:
“It’s difficult for others to understand. Everyone overeats and they think it’s just a bigger version of that. It’s a completely different experience – a constant, daily minute-to-minute obsession about getting the substance, food. It is hell being there in that place.”
Overeaters tend to use food to fill an emotional ‘hole’. They find comfort in the obtaining and eating of food. However, the process comes with side-effects of shame, low self-esteem and of course weight gain and all the physical problems known to stem from that (diabetes, heart disease, stroke etc.).
But the question is: is binge eating disorder really an addiction to food?
Dr. Nora Volkow, neuroscientist and head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse in the United States, is certain that there are biological processes characteristic of addiction underpinning binge eating disorder.
In her studies, Dr. Volkow found that dopamine, the neurotransmitter involved in addiction, behaves in the same way in people who overeat as it does in alcohol and drug addicts.
Do you have a propensity to overeat? To find out more about the food addiction debate and to learn how hypnotherapy can be used to help, please visit our Food Addiction page.
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