Food Addiction - No Control
Food addiction can also come in the form of anorexia, where an individual attempts to starve oneself in order to achieve an unrealistic weight. Anorexics tend to be 15 percent below normal body weight and have a phobia about being fat. They have difficulty eating with other people and appear to be obsessed with weight. They may engage in ritualistic behavior involving food and may suffer from depression.
The good news is that food addiction can be successfully treated. This treatment can come in a variety of forms. A food addict may work with a psychotherapist to develop new ways to deal with food and his or her emotions. The therapist might be able to identify the source of the individual's fear or anger -- the reason behind the individual's addiction. In the majority of cases, the psychologist will help the individual to develop a treatment plan which spells out expectations and goals, both for the short-term and the long-term. In the most serious cases, an individual may have to undergo in-patient treatment at a psychological facility. Treatment often involves helping the individual to return to healthy eating methods, dealing with the underlying emotional causes of addiction, and learning effective coping techniques.
Food addicts often follow the tenets of the same kind of 12-step program used by alcoholics. This involves admitting their powerlessness over food, their belief that they could be restored to sanity, and an admission of their faults and failings. In addition, food addicts often draw strength from support groups made up of people who have similar difficulties dealing with food. Just knowing that there are other people who face the same challenges can be incredibly therapeutic.
It is unclear at this point whether food addiction is a genetically-based illness. Certainly, however, there is evidence of eating patterns being passed down from one generation to the next. In fact, many food addicts may only seek help after they have determined that their illness could adversely affect their children.