Are You a Food Addict?

February 6, 2012

By Dr. Muhammad Feteiha, Bariatric Surgeon

If you are obese or morbidly obese you may be wondering if you are a food addict. Addiction to food has become more common, especially with people’s hectic lifestyles and the availability of cheap, large portioned food in restaurants. Increases in high fat and high sugar foods in our grocery stores and restaurants have only worsened the problem. Food addiction is a serious problem that must be treated much in the same way as other addictions including drugs, alcohol or gambling. Addiction can be, at very least, disruptive both physically and emotionally and in certain cases can cause long-term physical and emotional damage.

To understand if you have a food addiction, have a look at the list below. If you have several of the following characteristics, you may be a food addict:

  • Hiding or eating by oneself out of shame.
  • A physical compulsion to eat even when not very hungry.
  • Feeling an unrivaled sense of pleasure when eating.
  • Over-eating despite negative consequences that may occur as a result.
  • Stealing food

What to do about food addiction?

If you are both obese and a food addict, the most effective ways to improve or resolve the problem is by taking a two-pronged approach. If diet and exercise are not sufficient to improve your obesity then speaking to a medical weight loss program or weight loss surgeon may be an excellent first step in improving the physical effects of obesity. However weight loss alone will not cure the underlying psychological effects of food addiction. In fact, when the amount of food that you consume is reduced you may feel a void which can easily be filled by other addictive substances. In order to ensure that food addiction does not progress, addicts should seek professional help at a licensed addiction recovery and rehabilitation center. Addressing both the physical and psychological aspects of the disease can effectively manage food addiction over the long-term.

To learn more, speak to a weight loss specialist and/or bariatric surgeon as well as a mental health counselor in order to understand your options in fighting this very dangerous and growing disease.

Reviewed by Alton Smith, The Academy for Addiction Professionals

About Dr. Muhammad Feteiha

Dr. Muhammad Feteiha is a weight loss and general surgeon at Advanced Surgical Associates, a leading surgical practice in Northern New Jersey.

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