Premier Food Addiction Treatment in San Diego
Has your enjoyment for eating gotten out of control? You might spend a lot of time planning what you’re going to eat. Do you plan to eat healthfully and resist cravings only to return to foods high in sugar, salt, and fats? You might eat your favorite junk foods in private or even after you’ve already eaten healthfully in front of others. Do you eat in private on purpose? Do you feel like you need to make excuses for eating this way? Do you feel guilty or ashamed? Are you concerned for your health, but you just can’t stop? Eating junk foods regularly can become habit-forming and many critical physical health concerns can result, such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. It is possible to feel better about yourself, take care of your physical health, and still enjoy food. Food addiction treatment is available and recovery is possible. We are here to help you.
Food Addiction: What is it?
Food addiction is a behavioral addiction characterized by a compulsivity to consume food. Most often, binge foods are high in sugar, salt, and fats (junk foods), foods that activate the feel-good responses in the brain’s reward system, similar to substance abuse. Food addiction overrides the brain’s eating reward signals, such as fullness and satisfaction.
Enjoying these types of foods on occasion isn’t uncommon, but for some, the rush from the brain’s reward system can become addictive. People with food addiction continue eating this way regardless of consequences, and psychological dependence on eating can be as much of a driving force as the brain’s reward system. Some who struggle with food addiction even experience symptoms of withdrawal when making healthy changes in their eating habits.
Food addiction shares the binge eating characteristics of other disordered eating patterns, such as bulimia, compulsive overeating, and binge eating disorder. However, with food addiction, there is no purging of the food or restriction of calories following a binge eating episode. With food addiction, specifically, the foods consumed tend to be high in sugar, salt, and fat. Some people might graze their eating throughout hours or the whole day or evening, rather than binge in short periods of time.
Symptoms of Food Addiction Include:
- Cravings for unhealthy foods, even after finishing a regular meal
- Repeated attempts to quit or set rules about foods
- Eating more than you intended, even to the point of feeling sick
- Make excuses for eating junk food but feel bad about it
- Eating alone or avoid social situations around food
- Hiding consumption of unhealthy foods from others
- Feeling out of control despite efforts to control eating
- Eating junk foods even though you know they can cause you harm
- When certain foods are not available, go out of your way to obtain them
Are you concerned that you or someone you know is struggling with food addiction? If several of these symptoms apply, food addiction or other another form of disordered eating may be evident. Very often, food addiction manifests alongside substance addiction, other compulsive addictions such as shopping or gambling, an eating disorder, a psychological problem, or it may be a sign of untreated trauma.
Side Effects of Food Addiction
Food addiction can stand out as a primary concern while masking other impactful problems. This can lead to many emotional, psychological, and physical problems, such as:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- Dental decay
- Depression, anxiety
- Hopelessness, powerlessness, shame, guilt
- Suicidal thoughts or suicide attempt
- Self-harming behaviors
- Substance abuse
- Social isolation
- Decreased energy, fatigue
- Distraction, lack of focus at work
- Trouble sleeping, restlessness, oversleeping or insomnia
- Digestive disorders, headaches, irritability
- Other eating disorders
Food Addiction Treatment
It’s easy to minimize and normalize food addiction as something that everyone must deal with from time to time, but food addiction is a serious problem with serious consequences. It’s important to seek help. Treatment for food addiction usually begins with a consultation with a psychologist educated in assessing and treating eating disorders. Treatment includes cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, nutritional/dietary assessment and support, medical consultation and supervision, exercise, holistic therapies, and mood management tools.
Recovery looks different for each person. Reach out to our compassionate, professional staff and learn more about our comprehensive treatment for food addiction. Recovery is possible. Whether you’re looking for PHP, IOP, or structured living, and whether you struggle with just food addiction, or are also struggling with unresolved trauma and/or addiction, we’re here to help.