Food Addiction

Food made with sugar, fat, and salt can be addictive by triggering the feel-good brain chemicals such as dopamine and once people experience pleasure associated with increased dopamine transmission in the brain's reward pathway from eating certain foods, they quickly feel the need to eat again. Sugar has been linked to obesity, hypertension, high blood pressure, depression, headaches, and fatigue.

The similarities between substance dependence and food addiction are strikingly similar:

  • Substance is taken in a larger amount and for a longer period than initially (overeating or bingeing)
  • Persistent desire or repeated unsuccessful attempts to quit (repeated failed diets)
  • Much time/activity is spent to obtain, use, or recover (repeated failed diets)
  • Important social, occupational, or recreational activities given up or reduced (poor effort tolerance in overweight or obese people)
  • Use continues despite knowledge of adverse consequences (all the medical issues associated (with obesity)
  • Tolerance (marked increase in amount, marked decrease in effect particularly sugar where foods no longer taste sweet enough)
  • Characteristic withdrawal symptoms; substance taken to relieve withdrawal

If you think you are suffering from a food addiction, please get in touch to arrange an assessment.