Food Addictions

Food Addictions

Eating disorders -- such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder – include extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors surrounding weight and food issues. Eating disorders are serious emotional and physical problems that can have life-threatening consequences for females and males.

The following symptoms and behaviors are common in people with anorexia:

    • Dramatic weight loss
    • Wearing loose, bulky clothes to hide weight loss
    • Preoccupation with food, dieting, counting calories, etc.
    • Refusal to eat certain foods, such as carbs or fats
    • Avoiding mealtimes or eating in front of others
    • Preparing elaborate meals for others but refusing to eat them
    • Exercising excessively
    • Making comments about being “fat”
    • Stopping menstruating
    • Complaining about constipation or stomach pain
    • Denying that extreme thinness is a problem
The following are common signs of bulimia:

    • Evidence of binge eating, including disappearance of large amounts of food in a short time, or finding lots of empty food wrappers or containers
    • Evidence of purging, including trips to the bathroom after meals, sounds or smells of vomiting, or packages of laxatives or diuretics
    • Skipping meals or avoiding eating in front of others, or eating very small portions
    • Exercising excessively
    • Wearing baggy clothes to hide the body
    • Complaining about being “fat”
    • Using gum, mouthwash, or mints excessively
    • Constantly dieting
    • Scarred knuckles from repeatedly inducing vomiting
Common signs of binge eating disorder include:

    • Evidence of binge eating, including disappearance of large amounts of food in a short time, or finding lots of empty food wrappers or containers
    • Hoarding food, or hiding large quantities of food in strange places
    • Wearing baggy clothes to hide the body
    • Skipping meals or avoiding eating in front of others
    • Constantly dieting, but rarely losing weight
How Psychotherapy Can Help

Typically, recovery from disordered eating is a long and arduous process. Some therapies are relatively short term, requiring approximately four months, but when the process lasts for years, many people struggle with the motivation and energy required to commit to the work involved. It is important to recognize that recovery involves not just the absence of disordered thoughts and behaviors about food and body, but recovering one’s self—developing a sense of authentic identity, and cultivating self-acceptance and reverence for one’s self.
Food addiction can be recognizable by numerous signs and symptoms.  The following are possible symptoms of food addiction:
    • Gorging in more food than one can physically tolerate
    • Eating to the point of feeling ill
    • Going out of your way to obtain certain foods
    • Continuing to eat certain foods even if no longer hungry
    • Eating in secret, isolation
    • Avoiding social interactions, relationships, or functions to spend time eating certain foods.
    • Difficulty functioning in a career or job due to decreased efficiency
    • Spending significant amount of money on buying certain foods for bingeing purposes
    • Decreased energy, chronic fatigue
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Sleep disorders, such as insomnia or oversleeping
    • Restlessness
    • Irritability
    • Headaches
    • Digestive disorders
    • Suicidal ideations
    • Excessive use of laxatives
    • Vomiting
    • Purging
    • Fainting
    • Skipping meals
    • Repeated weighing or measuring themselves
    • Calluses on knuckles and eroded teeth if induced vomiting
    • Covering up in layers of clothing
If you or a loved one has been experiencing any of these above symptoms, call
The Personal Growth Center immediately to work through these pertinent issues.
Physical Effects – A food addiction can result in many negative physical consequences on the body as an excess of food is consumed.  These are some physical effects that may be experienced:

    • Heart disease
    • Diabetes
    • Digestive Problems
    • Malnutrition
    • Obesity
    • Chronic fatigue
    • Chronic pain
    • Sleep disorders
    • Reduced sex drive
    • Headaches
    • Lethargy
    • Arthritis
    • Stroke
    • Kidney/Liver Disease
    • Osteoporosis
Psychological Effects – Food addiction can be debilitating to mental health. Some psychological effects:

    • Low self-esteem
    • Depression
    • Panic attacks
    • Increased feelings of anxiety
    • Feeling sad, hopeless, or in despair
    • Increased irritability, especially if access to desired food is restricted
    • Emotional detachment or numbness
    • Suicidal ideation
Finally, food addiction can have an impact on your social life and relationships.

    • Decrease performance at work or school
    • Isolation from loved ones
    • Division within family units
    • Lack of enjoyment in hobbies or activities once enjoyed
    • Avoidance of social events or functions
    • Risk of jeopardizing finances or career