Addiction Can't Be Ignored In Obesity

-By A. Scott Roberts
M.S. Rehabilitation Counseling, Addiction Specialist

Researchers from McMaster University reveal that obesity and addiction are strongly linked. Chronic overeating has strong compulsive components and researchers are starting to consider it an addiction that has negative health and social consequences...

"The concept of addiction is complex, and the delineation of its defining characteristics has fostered considerable debate... Despite a lack of consensus, researchers nevertheless agree that the process involves a compulsive pattern of use, even in the face of negative health and social consequences." (Source: Dr Valerie Taylor / McMaster University)

Many people may not even think about food addiction as a cause of obesity. The term "food addiction" has been controversial in the past, but emerging research is showing that it has similar molecular roots to drug addiction.

There is a compulsive need to eat and this causes tolerance just as drugs would.junk food 2

Both drug addiction and food addiction results in withdrawal symptoms which includes a dramatic change in mood which can only be relieved by eating more sugary snacks and processed food.

But what is even more revealing is that obese patients that underwent gastric surgery and could not feed their stomachs to the extent they did before, started to exhibit other addictive behaviors.1 This is referred to as cross-addiction.

If an addict does not have access to his or her drug of choice, he/she will likely seek a substitute.

A food addict will eat to feel better. The reason the food makes a person feel better is because it spikes the chemicals in the brain, primarily serotonin and dopamine. When we go some time without our food, our brain chemicals drop and this results in cravings and mood swings.

The food addict seeks high-caloric or simple-sugars because these foods quickly and effectively spikes chemicals. Simple-sugars from junk food are quickly absorbed into the blood stream and metabolized. This gives the addict immediate relief.

But the dramatic fluctuations of dopamine and blood glucose from consuming junk food prevents the brain to stabilize and reach a steady homeostatic state.

People who struggle with overeating often have strong cravings for highly refined sugar and sweets that increases by environmental cues. The sight of pizza or potato chips to a food addict affects the brain in a similar way that a beer bottle would to an alcoholic. These environmental cues lead to the seductive pull addicts experience.2,3

The way to manage this addiction is to use evidence based techniques that lessen the cravings and impulses through addressing the desire, not just the behavior. Helping the brain to get out of habit loops and dependency by reacting to cravings in a different way than you did in the past, coupled with replacing simple sugars with complex sugars for a steady intake of sugar instead of dramatic fluctuations. This is what the Truth Of Addiction system helps people to do.

-A. Scott Roberts
M.S. Rehabilitation Counseling

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1. Taylor, V. (2009). Role of addiction cannot be ignored in obesity epidemic
2. Littleton, J. 2000. “Can Craving Be Modeled in Animals? The Relapse Prevention Perspective.” Addiction.
3. Deroche-Gamonet, V., D. Belin, and P. V. Piazza. 2004. “Evidence for Addiction like Behavior in the Rat.” Science 305:1014–1017.