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"Addiction" versus "Dependence"

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  • moe0303moe0303 Posts: 933Member Member Posts: 933Member Member
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    moe0303 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    When it comes to the discussion of the appropriateness of the term "addiction" I feel a bit like I am chasing my tail with this stuff. Which is fine with me actually. All I really want is to see that people posting about their food addictions or sugar addictions are not treated with disdain. Over the years I have seen descriptors like "ridiculous", "moronic", "idiotic", "lazy", "special snowflake", and not having "a modicum of willpower". Completely inappropriate language and message.

    Hmm. The first time I saw the topic come up on MFP it was a general question -- is food addiction real? At the time (this was early on after I joined, so maybe spring or summer '14), I thought it might be and took a "maybe yes, maybe no, these things seem similar, these do not" approach. The overall sentiment of the participants was probably more "no, it's excuse making" (which I didn't think at that time, since no one in the thread was making excuses). CyberEd posted about his experience and that plus more research led me to my current view about eating addiction being real but rare, food addiction not really.

    The numerous threads on MFP -- although in many cases seeking genuine help with a problem -- have actually acted to harden my view that food/sugar addiction is not real, as well as making me think the belief in it is harmful -- essentially contributing to the problem, as I noted in my responses to the criteria.

    This is NOT because of the OPs, for the most part, but research as to why so many people seemed to think they were addicted, when that never was a thing when I was growing up, led me to the discovery that there are messages all over the place telling people that if they struggle with their weight or dieting they are likely "addicts," when in fact there are better explanations usually, and how often these are connected with extremist claims that one must never eat sugar or cut carbs way down or that processed food is all a conspiracy of corporations to addict us, etc. Nonsense, and unfortunately IMO unhealthy, as the labeling of foods as "bad" and self-hatred (I am bad) for consuming bad food I think leads to a worsening of the problem (and I'd even argue the criteria support me on this).

    It's also because what I see on MFP is a lot of people trying to claim that because they are "addicts" they are not like regular old fat people who got fat because they overate.
    These special fat people (or not that fat in many cases) couldn't help it. (I do think this is the main benefit of claiming addiction to some, even though it's foolish, because as I said to Moe re his drunk example, it's NOT a valid excuse. Getting fat through a supposed addiction to sugar doesn't make you any less responsible for your choices, and you chose to eat what you did.)

    I mention this because I think for the most part posters at MFP ARE very helpful, and I see a lot of OPs and people out of the blue insisting sugar is just like heroin or the like being much more nasty (if this is to become a mean people thread).

    I do agree with you that someone who claims to be a "sugar addict" and is asking for help should be given help and not treated with disdain, even if I think they used the wrong word. On the other hand, someone who claims that having a problem with overeating cookies is identical or worse than heroin addiction, well, that person does deserve disdain IMO. That's not normally the OPs, though.

    I think more often than not, they are saying they overeat because they are addicted. Whether that be to the substance of sugar as they believe or the behavior of consuming is kind of irrelevant. Invariably the argument will often revolve around whether or not sugar addiction is a thing speckled with suggestions for moderation methodologies.

    Maybe, not always (often it's combined with the idea that sugar magically makes you fat even if you don't overeat -- I think many people just find it too difficult to admit they eat more than they should).

    But even so, they are saying they couldn't help it, not like others who were just gluttons. It's excuse making. (And, of course, untrue.)

    Gambling can be an addiction, so your comparison makes no sense.

    However as for this:
    Others know blackjack addiction isn't really a thing and aren't quite convinced that gambling addiction is either (or that it is very rare), so they insist on suggesting things like "Try keeping a log of how much you are betting" or "Try only going into the casino with a certain amount of cash". These would be great advice if they aren't an addict, but harmful if they are. In any case advice given from the standpoint of treating an addiction seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

    I disagree that these would be unhelpful, even if someone has a "food addiction" as it seems to be understood (i.e., addiction to highly palatable foods -- which I do continue to think is absurd). Importantly, even those who buy into the notion DON'T say the answer is to cut out all such foods, since they understand it's not like a drug addiction. They give behavioral suggestions. Similarly, while I think alcohol can be an addiction, I know from quitting booze that not drinking is only part of it (although a pretty important part). Dealing with habit and association is another part. And again these things you are poo-pooing or saying are dumb if directed toward an "addict" are in fact related to things that help with those kinds of habits, or they are for me and with the suggestions I make.

    Doesn't change the fact that the underlying conditions are vastly different and the kind of overeating we are talking about isn't the same as giving your life over to a substance (or even a gambling addiction).

    I never said anything was dumb. I apologize if I came off that way, but that was not my intention. I will never sink to the level of name calling on these threads. My ultimate interest is in the debate itself, and while I may take a side, I am open to understanding opposing viewpoints.

    I interact with 100s of people who self identify as addicts of some sort. Most of those claim a sugar addiction, but other claim other substances like fat and salt. Of those with whom I interact, abstinence is the overwhelming majority of what they prescribe and practice. I don't believe all of those individuals are actually addicted, but they have been empowered by employing addiction treatment methodologies in their recovery. They may one day come to realize that they are not afflicted with the same challenges as those who are truly addicted, but the journey to this realization began with the treatment of the stated addiction.

    I can't address some of your other points right now, but I should B on later. I really just wanted to set the record straight about calling something dumb.

    Again @lemurcat12 I apologize if I offended you. I respect you and would never do so intentionally.
  • chocolate_owlchocolate_owl Posts: 1,431Member Member Posts: 1,431Member Member
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    When it comes to the discussion of the appropriateness of the term "addiction" I feel a bit like I am chasing my tail with this stuff. Which is fine with me actually. All I really want is to see that people posting about their food addictions or sugar addictions are not treated with disdain. Over the years I have seen descriptors like "ridiculous", "moronic", "idiotic", "lazy", "special snowflake", and not having "a modicum of willpower". Completely inappropriate language and message.

    Hmm. The first time I saw the topic come up on MFP it was a general question -- is food addiction real? At the time (this was early on after I joined, so maybe spring or summer '14), I thought it might be and took a "maybe yes, maybe no, these things seem similar, these do not" approach. The overall sentiment of the participants was probably more "no, it's excuse making" (which I didn't think at that time, since no one in the thread was making excuses). CyberEd posted about his experience and that plus more research led me to my current view about eating addiction being real but rare, food addiction not really.

    The numerous threads on MFP -- although in many cases seeking genuine help with a problem -- have actually acted to harden my view that food/sugar addiction is not real, as well as making me think the belief in it is harmful -- essentially contributing to the problem, as I noted in my responses to the criteria.

    There was definitely a stretch where 2 or 3 posters were on a warpath with anyone who dared claim sugar addiction. I don't think they're around anymore. Their responses and research are also why I fell on the side of sugar addiction not being real, but their approach in dealing with it often belittled people looking for help.
    snikkins wrote: »
    moe0303 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    When it comes to the discussion of the appropriateness of the term "addiction" I feel a bit like I am chasing my tail with this stuff. Which is fine with me actually. All I really want is to see that people posting about their food addictions or sugar addictions are not treated with disdain. Over the years I have seen descriptors like "ridiculous", "moronic", "idiotic", "lazy", "special snowflake", and not having "a modicum of willpower". Completely inappropriate language and message.

    Hmm. The first time I saw the topic come up on MFP it was a general question -- is food addiction real? At the time (this was early on after I joined, so maybe spring or summer '14), I thought it might be and took a "maybe yes, maybe no, these things seem similar, these do not" approach. The overall sentiment of the participants was probably more "no, it's excuse making" (which I didn't think at that time, since no one in the thread was making excuses). CyberEd posted about his experience and that plus more research led me to my current view about eating addiction being real but rare, food addiction not really.

    The numerous threads on MFP -- although in many cases seeking genuine help with a problem -- have actually acted to harden my view that food/sugar addiction is not real, as well as making me think the belief in it is harmful -- essentially contributing to the problem, as I noted in my responses to the criteria.

    This is NOT because of the OPs, for the most part, but research as to why so many people seemed to think they were addicted, when that never was a thing when I was growing up, led me to the discovery that there are messages all over the place telling people that if they struggle with their weight or dieting they are likely "addicts," when in fact there are better explanations usually, and how often these are connected with extremist claims that one must never eat sugar or cut carbs way down or that processed food is all a conspiracy of corporations to addict us, etc. Nonsense, and unfortunately IMO unhealthy, as the labeling of foods as "bad" and self-hatred (I am bad) for consuming bad food I think leads to a worsening of the problem (and I'd even argue the criteria support me on this).

    It's also because what I see on MFP is a lot of people trying to claim that because they are "addicts" they are not like regular old fat people who got fat because they overate.
    These special fat people (or not that fat in many cases) couldn't help it. (I do think this is the main benefit of claiming addiction to some, even though it's foolish, because as I said to Moe re his drunk example, it's NOT a valid excuse. Getting fat through a supposed addiction to sugar doesn't make you any less responsible for your choices, and you chose to eat what you did.)

    I mention this because I think for the most part posters at MFP ARE very helpful, and I see a lot of OPs and people out of the blue insisting sugar is just like heroin or the like being much more nasty (if this is to become a mean people thread).

    I do agree with you that someone who claims to be a "sugar addict" and is asking for help should be given help and not treated with disdain, even if I think they used the wrong word. On the other hand, someone who claims that having a problem with overeating cookies is identical or worse than heroin addiction, well, that person does deserve disdain IMO. That's not normally the OPs, though.

    I think more often than not, they are saying they overeat because they are addicted. Whether that be to the substance of sugar as they believe or the behavior of consuming is kind of irrelevant. Invariably the argument will often revolve around whether or not sugar addiction is a thing speckled with suggestions for moderation methodologies.

    In terms of gambling, it's like someone saying they're addicted to blackjack. Well, no they're not because what if you played blackjack without betting (I.e. why don't you eat sugar straight out of the bag). They just make bad decisions like almost everyone on the strip in Vegas. There are people that believe that gambling addictions exist, but they seem stuck on the fact that this guy thinks he's only addicted to blackjack (because it's absurd). Others know blackjack addiction isn't really a thing and aren't quite convinced that gambling addiction is either (or that it is very rare), so they insist on suggesting things like "Try keeping a log of how much you are betting" or "Try only going into the casino with a certain amount of cash". These would be great advice if they aren't an addict, but harmful if they are. In any case advice given from the standpoint of treating an addiction seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

    I think you're being a bit generous with your interpretations.

    I agree with @lemurcat12, here. I know lots of people who are overweight who all claim to not eat that much. Several of these people have also joined the "Sugar is the Devil" or the "Gluten Causes All of the World's Ills" groups that also tend to promote the idea of sugar or food addiction. It allows people to pretend that they're not fat because they overate like the rest of us, for whatever reason, including lack of self-control, but they're fat because of an external factor.

    This is very true. Hell, I've done this, but with my thyroid. Taking responsibility and limiting your consumption of food you really, really like sucks, especially when it appears like other people around you can eat all they want and lose/maintain weight.
    moe0303 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    moe0303 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    When it comes to the discussion of the appropriateness of the term "addiction" I feel a bit like I am chasing my tail with this stuff. Which is fine with me actually. All I really want is to see that people posting about their food addictions or sugar addictions are not treated with disdain. Over the years I have seen descriptors like "ridiculous", "moronic", "idiotic", "lazy", "special snowflake", and not having "a modicum of willpower". Completely inappropriate language and message.

    Hmm. The first time I saw the topic come up on MFP it was a general question -- is food addiction real? At the time (this was early on after I joined, so maybe spring or summer '14), I thought it might be and took a "maybe yes, maybe no, these things seem similar, these do not" approach. The overall sentiment of the participants was probably more "no, it's excuse making" (which I didn't think at that time, since no one in the thread was making excuses). CyberEd posted about his experience and that plus more research led me to my current view about eating addiction being real but rare, food addiction not really.

    The numerous threads on MFP -- although in many cases seeking genuine help with a problem -- have actually acted to harden my view that food/sugar addiction is not real, as well as making me think the belief in it is harmful -- essentially contributing to the problem, as I noted in my responses to the criteria.

    This is NOT because of the OPs, for the most part, but research as to why so many people seemed to think they were addicted, when that never was a thing when I was growing up, led me to the discovery that there are messages all over the place telling people that if they struggle with their weight or dieting they are likely "addicts," when in fact there are better explanations usually, and how often these are connected with extremist claims that one must never eat sugar or cut carbs way down or that processed food is all a conspiracy of corporations to addict us, etc. Nonsense, and unfortunately IMO unhealthy, as the labeling of foods as "bad" and self-hatred (I am bad) for consuming bad food I think leads to a worsening of the problem (and I'd even argue the criteria support me on this).

    It's also because what I see on MFP is a lot of people trying to claim that because they are "addicts" they are not like regular old fat people who got fat because they overate.
    These special fat people (or not that fat in many cases) couldn't help it. (I do think this is the main benefit of claiming addiction to some, even though it's foolish, because as I said to Moe re his drunk example, it's NOT a valid excuse. Getting fat through a supposed addiction to sugar doesn't make you any less responsible for your choices, and you chose to eat what you did.)

    I mention this because I think for the most part posters at MFP ARE very helpful, and I see a lot of OPs and people out of the blue insisting sugar is just like heroin or the like being much more nasty (if this is to become a mean people thread).

    I do agree with you that someone who claims to be a "sugar addict" and is asking for help should be given help and not treated with disdain, even if I think they used the wrong word. On the other hand, someone who claims that having a problem with overeating cookies is identical or worse than heroin addiction, well, that person does deserve disdain IMO. That's not normally the OPs, though.

    I think more often than not, they are saying they overeat because they are addicted. Whether that be to the substance of sugar as they believe or the behavior of consuming is kind of irrelevant. Invariably the argument will often revolve around whether or not sugar addiction is a thing speckled with suggestions for moderation methodologies.

    Maybe, not always (often it's combined with the idea that sugar magically makes you fat even if you don't overeat -- I think many people just find it too difficult to admit they eat more than they should).

    But even so, they are saying they couldn't help it, not like others who were just gluttons. It's excuse making. (And, of course, untrue.)

    Gambling can be an addiction, so your comparison makes no sense.

    However as for this:
    Others know blackjack addiction isn't really a thing and aren't quite convinced that gambling addiction is either (or that it is very rare), so they insist on suggesting things like "Try keeping a log of how much you are betting" or "Try only going into the casino with a certain amount of cash". These would be great advice if they aren't an addict, but harmful if they are. In any case advice given from the standpoint of treating an addiction seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

    I disagree that these would be unhelpful, even if someone has a "food addiction" as it seems to be understood (i.e., addiction to highly palatable foods -- which I do continue to think is absurd). Importantly, even those who buy into the notion DON'T say the answer is to cut out all such foods, since they understand it's not like a drug addiction. They give behavioral suggestions. Similarly, while I think alcohol can be an addiction, I know from quitting booze that not drinking is only part of it (although a pretty important part). Dealing with habit and association is another part. And again these things you are poo-pooing or saying are dumb if directed toward an "addict" are in fact related to things that help with those kinds of habits, or they are for me and with the suggestions I make.

    Doesn't change the fact that the underlying conditions are vastly different and the kind of overeating we are talking about isn't the same as giving your life over to a substance (or even a gambling addiction).

    I interact with 100s of people who self identify as addicts of some sort. Most of those claim a sugar addiction, but other claim other substances like fat and salt. Of those with whom I interact, abstinence is the overwhelming majority of what they prescribe and practice. I don't believe all of those individuals are actually addicted, but they have been empowered by employing addiction treatment methodologies in their recovery. They may one day come to realize that they are not afflicted with the same challenges as those who are truly addicted, but the journey to this realization began with the treatment of the stated addiction.

    I don't object to initially suggesting abstinence as a tool for managing overeating of a particular food. I don't think it needs to be done because of "addiction", though - I think taking a break from highly palatable "trigger" foods and giving your body a chance to adapt to new flavors is a good way to start a diet. Moderation can be introduced as the person learns new eating habits, and if there are still foods they find so palatable that they always overeat on them, they can make educated decisions about whether to avoid them or eat too much of them. Even after years of all of this, I still don't keep Cheez-Its in the house because I *will* eat the entire box. I'm not addicted to Cheez-Its. I just don't feel satisfied having one portion of them, and I'd rather not have them at all than continue craving them with a mostly full box hanging out in my pantry.

    I just would hate that someone who is perfectly capable of having ice cream in moderation with some practice never touches ice cream again because they believe they're addicted. A life without ice cream is a sad life indeed.
  • WinoGelatoWinoGelato Posts: 13,410Member Member Posts: 13,410Member Member

    I just would hate that someone who is perfectly capable of having ice cream in moderation with some practice never touches ice cream again because they believe they're addicted. A life without ice cream is a sad life indeed.

    This. Often what I see in threads like this is the jump to "sugar is addictive, it must be cut out forever" which many people recognize is not sustainable. Moderation is not easy and often times it starts successfully with elimination/abstinence of a trigger food with a plan to begin moderating when some of the behavioral/habitual issues are addressed as I suggested above. People who suggest cutting out things like ice cream often make the claim that they've tried moderation and it didn't work for them, and maybe they did try several different approaches, but I would say that for those of us who have learned to moderate, it was not just a "I'm going to eat ice cream in moderation, there, that was easy" situation. It involves strategies and practice and often times we are unsuccessful on a particular occasion but that doesn't mean that we have to give it up forever.

  • chocolate_owlchocolate_owl Posts: 1,431Member Member Posts: 1,431Member Member
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    The Yale criteria has been discussed some here before. My understanding is that it's not that clearly accepted at all. Don't know if this is one of the sources goldthistime cited, but it's also interesting: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4210934/

    For the record, my own thoughts on the criteria, and I'd love to see anyone's responses:

    This feels like the MFP version of those lists of questions I'd answer and post up on my Xanga. About me: I've never been overweight on the BMI scale or been at a size that has been called unhealthy, though I was overfat. At my heaviest, I was 5'5" and 150 lbs. I've gone through periods of restricting, binging, and purging, so there will be a lot of disordered eating patterns showing up here. I'll star the ones that I think are ED-specific.

    1. I find that when I start eating certain foods, I end up eating much more than planned.
    Yes, definitely. I can pre-log and plan all I want, but if food is left out buffet-style, I overdo it. Especially if it's cheese. I try to limit being in these situations because of my grazing tendencies.

    2. I find myself continuing to consume certain foods even though I am no longer hungry.
    Yes, especially highly palatable ones.

    3. I eat to the point where I feel physically ill.
    Yes, but rarely. This is usually at a special dinner at an expensive restaurant where I don't want any of the amazing food to go to waste.

    4. Not eating certain types of food or cutting down on certain types of food is something I worry about.
    Sometimes. I'm trying to shave off 5 lbs on a 1400-a-day calorie goal. Cutting down on sugar helps me meet my nutrient and calorie goals. I'm disappointed when I realize I didn't meet my protein macro because I had a cookie. When I'm not cutting, this is less of an issue.

    5. I spend a lot of time feeling sluggish or fatigued from overeating.
    No.

    6. I find myself constantly eating certain foods throughout the day.
    No.

    7. I find that when certain foods are not available, I will go out of my way to obtain them. For example, I will drive to the store to purchase certain foods even though I have other options available to me at home.
    If I have a craving and it fits in my goals, yes.

    8. There have been times when I consumed certain foods so often or in such large quantities that I started to eat food instead of working, spending time with my family or friends, or engaging in other important activities or recreational activities I enjoy.
    No.

    *9. There have been times when I consumed certain foods so often or in such large quantities that I spent time dealing with negative feelings from overeating instead of working, spending time with my family or friends, or engaging in other important activities or recreational activities I enjoy.
    Yes. I've had more than one occasion where I've been so focused on trying not to cry about eating a burger and feeling full from it that I've been unable to focus on anything else.

    *10. There have been times when I avoided professional or social situations where certain foods were available because I was afraid I would overeat.
    Yes, I've cancelled dinners with friends because the thought of all the calories freaked me out. I was a freelance food critic for a while, but I stopped that as well because of the richness of the food.

    11. There have been times when I avoided professional or social situations because I was not able to consume certain foods there.
    Define "able"? I don't have anything I can't consume ever, just limits on how much I can consume.

    *12. I have had withdrawal symptoms such as agitation, anxiety, or other physical symptoms when I cut down or stopped eating certain foods. (Please do NOT include withdrawal symptoms caused by cutting down on caffeinated beverages such as soda pop, coffee, tea, energy drinks, etc.)
    I had anxiety over no longer being able to eat the bagels in the office and meet my calorie goals, but there were a lot of other mental things going on then too. I can't attribute that purely to the food.

    *13. I have consumed certain foods to prevent feelings of anxiety, agitation, or other physical symptoms that were developing.
    Yes.

    14. I have found that I have elevated desire for or urges to consume certain foods when I cut down or stop eating them.
    Initially, yes, but I think this is a natural human response of wanting something you can't have. I get over it, or I find a way to eat it.

    *15. My behavior with respect to food and eating causes significant distress.
    At times, yes.

    *16. I experience significant problems in my ability to function effectively (daily routine, job/school, social activities, family activities, health difficulties) because of food and eating.
    At times, yes.

    *17. My food consumption has caused significant psychological problems such as depression, anxiety, self-loathing, or guilt.
    More like depression caused my food consumption to cause significant psychological problems, but yes.

    *18. My food consumption has caused significant physical problems or made a physical problem worse.
    I can't say eating a bunch then throwing things up is particularly good for me. I do think I've degraded my teeth from it, but luckily nothing more severe.

    *19. I kept consuming the same types of food or the same amount of food even though I was having emotional and/or physical problems.
    This was cyclical. I'd restrict, binge, purge. But yes, I guess.

    20. Over time, I have found that I need to eat more and more to get the feeling I want, such as reduced negative emotions or increased pleasure.
    No.

    21. I have found that eating the same amount of food does not reduce my negative emotions or increase pleasurable feelings the way it used to.
    No.

    22. I want to cut down or stop eating certain kinds of food.
    I'm where I want to be with food right now.

    23. I have tried to cut down or stop eating certain kinds of food.
    Yes.

    24. I have been successful at cutting down or not eating these kinds of food.
    Yes.

    25. How many times in the past year did you try to cut down or stop eating certain foods altogether?
    3-4. I've tried cutting down on sweets and alcohol multiple times to meet a lower calorie goal, but this is the first time in the past year that life/my lack of interest hasn't derailed me a week or two in.
  • moe0303moe0303 Posts: 933Member Member Posts: 933Member Member
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    moe0303 wrote: »
    In terms of gambling, it's like someone saying they're addicted to blackjack. Well, no they're not because what if you played blackjack without betting (I.e. why don't you eat sugar straight out of the bag). They just make bad decisions like almost everyone on the strip in Vegas. There are people that believe that gambling addictions exist, but they seem stuck on the fact that this guy thinks he's only addicted to blackjack (because it's absurd). Others know blackjack addiction isn't really a thing and aren't quite convinced that gambling addiction is either (or that it is very rare), so they insist on suggesting things like "Try keeping a log of how much you are betting" or "Try only going into the casino with a certain amount of cash". These would be great advice if they aren't an addict, but harmful if they are. In any case advice given from the standpoint of treating an addiction seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

    Also, I don't know if you really think these are counters to the arguments people give to why sugar addiction is not a thing, but they aren't.
    I'm saying the "thingness" of sugar addiction is kind of irrelevant.
    Gambling addicts will want to gamble--I think playing blackjack without gambling would be a trigger (and eating sugar out of the bag isn't a comparison -- instead it might be diet pop for a sugar "addict" or fake beer for a drunk). Eating sugar out of the bag would be gambling even when the game wasn't there -- just betting on anything.

    I concede the analogy was not adequate to what I was trying to relate.
    I don't think anyone claims to be a "blackjack addict" and fine with other forms of gambling -- that would be ridiculous. Just as if someone claimed to be a wine addict but said all was well because she was only drinking beer now. It's only in the "sugar" context where this kind of hair splitting is taken seriously, which indicates to me, again, that it's obviously not the same kind of thing.

    My understanding is that BED and eating addictions are not so discriminating.

    All analogy inadequacies aside (That was some awesome alliteration!), what do you think would be the proper response if someone were proclaiming something so ridiculous? What is their next step? Is it important that he understand that he really has a gambling addiction and that blackjack isn't the devil? How much energy should we expend on helping him see the light? What if we don't think he really has a gambling addiction?

    To me, the answer is the same whether you believe in gambling addictions or not: "You should contact a specialized (gambling addiction) group, or doctor. They might know of, or be able to put you in contact with, people that have blackjack addictions."

  • kshama2001kshama2001 Posts: 21,202Member Member Posts: 21,202Member Member
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    I can't speak for anyone else, but my experience for the last 50 years or more is one of "food thinking". While everyone else is playing tag football or volleyball at the company picnic, I am eyeballing the food being set out and feeling a bit desperately competitive to get into the line without appearing too eager so I don't miss out on anything. I have eaten many times when I wasn't hungry. If there is leftover food that I like, it occupies my thoughts until it is eaten or out of the house. I have put perfectly good food down the garbage disposal, depriving other family members, rather than have it call to me. If there are goodies at work, I have to stay out of the break room and I am aware, despite being very busy at work, of the food sitting there.

    With the exception of dumping the food, I can relate to all of these and had to come up with strategies to deal with and change these things. I don't consider that akin to an addiction. There are some similarities (as both are related to habit in part), but it's still so different.

    Lemurcat, Have you been successful in changing your food thinking? If so, please share, as I would like very much to change this thought pattern. As far as I can determine, it started around the age of 4 and worsened during my teen years. I am not obsessive about anything else. My parents and siblings were/are normal and have never had a problem with food or weight. Thanks!

    Have you tried cognitive behavioral therapy? CBT techniques first helped me to stop abusing alcohol and I later found they were useful for food as well.

    Additionally, when I do the following, I don't have cravings:

    1. Get sufficient sleep
    2. Exercise regularly - when I get the happy hormones from exercise, I'm not prone to seeking them from food.
    3. Get sufficient protein in relationship to carbs. I'm not low carb, but reducing carbs and upping protein worked for cravings for me. See also http://www.nutrition.org.uk/healthyliving/fuller/understanding-satiety-feeling-full-after-a-meal.html
    4. Eat moderate amounts of fruit. This makes me less interested in higher calorie sweets.
    5. Take a magnesium supplement. This can be especially helpful for women premenstrually.
    6. Save foods like chocolate for after dinner, in small amounts
  • KetoneKarenKetoneKaren Posts: 4,126Member Member Posts: 4,126Member Member
    @kshama2001 No I haven't tried cognitive behavioral therapy, but I will look into it. I like your list. Sleep is sometimes problematic for me because I have a job with weird hours and I am wound up for awhile after work. The rest I am doing pretty good with. I take magnesium in the evening, it helps relax me. I don't really crave sweets per se, which this thread has sort of assumed, so I can take or leave the small amounts of chocolate. I mean, sometimes the siren song comes from something sweet, but it is just as likely to be coming from leftover pizza, lasagna, submarine sandwiches, and restaurant leftovers. Right now I am really doing great. No siren songs emanating from the kitchen today!
  • lemurcat12lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886Member Member Posts: 30,886Member Member
    ksharma's list is actually stuff I'd recommend too, for the most part.

    Sleep makes a huge difference for me on ability to control what I eat (and caring enough to do so). It's extremely easy to fall into a habit of using food to wake yourself up, which is a bad cycle, and also lack of sleep is hard on willpower. (My sleep has been truly horrible for the past few months and is always an issue, and that's a real struggle for me.)

    Exercise, yeah, very helpful for stress plus I care a lot more about eating well when I'm exercising regularly and exercise makes me feel much better in my body and helps with self confidence (for me). Protein (plus volume -- lots of vegetables, for me) helps me feel satisfied with my meals (I never ate tons of carbs, so it was more upping protein and cutting down on things I didn't care about so much, like some excess fat and some boring carbs I ate because they were there, plus lower nutrient/high cal stuff (amount, not cutting out)). Fruit I sometimes eat more of than others and it doesn't seem to matter, but for me it does make a great snack and provide sweet if that's what I want. Magnesium I don't do. Eating a moderate sized (serving size) dessert after dinner rather than mid day and definitely rather than for a snack or grazing is what I tend to do and it works well for me. I also don't think of dessert as necessarily sweet and often have cheese or something.
    edited May 2016
  • lemurcat12lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886Member Member Posts: 30,886Member Member
    moe0303 wrote: »
    lemurcat12 wrote: »
    moe0303 wrote: »
    In terms of gambling, it's like someone saying they're addicted to blackjack. Well, no they're not because what if you played blackjack without betting (I.e. why don't you eat sugar straight out of the bag). They just make bad decisions like almost everyone on the strip in Vegas. There are people that believe that gambling addictions exist, but they seem stuck on the fact that this guy thinks he's only addicted to blackjack (because it's absurd). Others know blackjack addiction isn't really a thing and aren't quite convinced that gambling addiction is either (or that it is very rare), so they insist on suggesting things like "Try keeping a log of how much you are betting" or "Try only going into the casino with a certain amount of cash". These would be great advice if they aren't an addict, but harmful if they are. In any case advice given from the standpoint of treating an addiction seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

    Also, I don't know if you really think these are counters to the arguments people give to why sugar addiction is not a thing, but they aren't.
    I'm saying the "thingness" of sugar addiction is kind of irrelevant.

    It's relevant to this thread. I think it's also relevant more generally (see my responses to the Yale criteria for why, in part), and because people make direct comparisons to things that I think are quite different. There's a reason I don't care if someone says "jeez, I must be addicted to peanut butter the way I go through it" and do find it offensive if someone says "sugar addiction is exactly like heroin addiction, but worse."
    Gambling addicts will want to gamble--I think playing blackjack without gambling would be a trigger (and eating sugar out of the bag isn't a comparison -- instead it might be diet pop for a sugar "addict" or fake beer for a drunk). Eating sugar out of the bag would be gambling even when the game wasn't there -- just betting on anything.

    I concede the analogy was not adequate to what I was trying to relate.
    I don't think anyone claims to be a "blackjack addict" and fine with other forms of gambling -- that would be ridiculous. Just as if someone claimed to be a wine addict but said all was well because she was only drinking beer now. It's only in the "sugar" context where this kind of hair splitting is taken seriously, which indicates to me, again, that it's obviously not the same kind of thing.

    My understanding is that BED and eating addictions are not so discriminating.

    All analogy inadequacies aside (That was some awesome alliteration!), what do you think would be the proper response if someone were proclaiming something so ridiculous? What is their next step? Is it important that he understand that he really has a gambling addiction and that blackjack isn't the devil? How much energy should we expend on helping him see the light? What if we don't think he really has a gambling addiction?

    Well, let's take my shift to the person who says "I'm addicted to wine, but don't worry, I'm just drinking beer!" Depending on my relationship with her and what she'd shared, I'd probably discuss the fact that that's not a thing, that if you have an issue with alcohol shifting drinks isn't going to matter. But on the whole that's something you need to find out for yourself, so I'm not expecting much (and people have to decide to get sober themselves). If I was likely to have a heart to heart with a gambling addict (I am not, as I don't gamble and don't know much about the issue), I'd probably suggest that if you are prone to gamble excessively in one form changing how you gamble isn't going to be a good solution and seeking help would be a good idea.

    For the sugar person, who thinks she is addicted to "sugar" but has a problem only with specific trigger foods while being fine with other sweets (and fruit) that aren't favorites? Like I said before, I don't argue sugar addiction if someone is seeking help with control. And serious question, since I've said this about 700 times in this thread alone and it was a policy of mine long before this thread, why do you keep trying to argue it with me as if I were in the habit of confronting people and trying to get them to admit they are not addicted? I'm discussing it here because it's the topic of this thread. Anyway, digression aside, what I do instead (once again) is state -- because it's important to me to be honest -- that I do not think "addiction" is the correct word, but that I have also struggled with feeling out of control, and what was important to me was to focus on context, when I felt that way, to understand what was playing into it. Then I go into the various things I did (listed in one form upthread), as well as some ideas about how to come up with solutions.

    Note that I respond differently: I don't think this person is going to start abusing some different sugary food if he or she cuts out the trigger foods (I also don't think sugar is likely to be the main culprit -- the anti carb folks seem to be dominating this discussion, but that's not the research). The reason for that is that I don't think it's a real addiction. I also think the person can likely address the issue through some practical strategies and thinking about habits (something I'm less comfortable thinking about the gambling addict). And I certainly don't think the person needs to cut out fruit because he or she overeats Oreos (for example), although if the person wanted to try that I would be supportive. The point of bringing up "well, it makes no sense to be addicted to white pasta and not whole wheat" or "Oreos but not cake" or even "ice cream but not bananas" is either because we are in a discussion of the kind here (and I am not focused on trying to help someone, but discussing the facts as I see them) OR because I think it would be helpful for someone to think about their assumption that the food itself, in a physical way, has a hold on them. If it's Oreos and not cake, it's not physical, period. It's some kind of association or preference plus a behavioral thing (one I don't think is properly called addiction), but again I wouldn't discuss that beyond noting it for the record unless we were in the right context to do so, IMO.
    To me, the answer is the same whether you believe in gambling addictions or not: "You should contact a specialized (gambling addiction) group, or doctor. They might know of, or be able to put you in contact with, people that have blackjack addictions."

    So you think I should say this to people who claim to have "sugar addictions" or "food addictions" or "Oreo addictions"? IMO, that's foolish when what they are describing sounds like something I can help with, as it sounds like what I've struggled with myself. Also, when people do say such things OP usually gets PO'd and the person usually is accused of being unhelpful.

    IMO, if you have a really serious issue with food it is likely a kind of eating disorder, at least (especially with bingeing) and counseling of some sort is a great idea. Bingeing is often made worse by restricting foods or labeling them as "bad," so I would see the amateur (often ketoevangelist or sugar detox believing) advice that what they really need to do with an addiction is cut out all such foods and sugar and "processed foods" in general as quite likely to be counterproductive. If the person wanted to try it I'd be supportive, again -- I don't binge and know this about myself, and I decided to try cutting out added sugar and while I didn't find it all that useful it was a worthwhile experiment. But I wouldn't tell the person that was the right approach or push him or her into a group that would claim that, absolutely not.
    edited May 2016
  • fangednekofangedneko Posts: 133Member Member Posts: 133Member Member
    G8i7ZLX.gif
    Obligatory.
  • fishgutzyfishgutzy Posts: 2,824Member Member Posts: 2,824Member Member
    I guess you could say I have become dependent on endorphin. When I can't swim or get other exercise for several days my mental health starts to get a little shaky :D
  • moe0303moe0303 Posts: 933Member Member Posts: 933Member Member
    Question: Does a substance have to create a dependency in order to be called addictive?
  • stevencloserstevencloser Posts: 8,917Member Member Posts: 8,917Member Member
    moe0303 wrote: »
    Question: Does a substance have to create a dependency in order to be called addictive?

    It appears to be in the definition of substance addiction.

    "Drug addiction, also called substance use disorder, is a dependence on a legal or illegal drug or medication. "
    http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/drug-addiction/basics/definition/con-20020970

    This one doesn't say "dependency", but it does say they change the way your brain works by being present in your blood stream, and lists how they do this.

    https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/understanding-drug-abuse-addiction
  • moe0303moe0303 Posts: 933Member Member Posts: 933Member Member
    Yeah, I saw those too. I can't find one that explicitly defines an addictive substance though.
  • RobD520RobD520 Posts: 420Member Member Posts: 420Member Member
    moe0303 wrote: »
    Question: Does a substance have to create a dependency in order to be called addictive?

    It appears to be in the definition of substance addiction.

    "Drug addiction, also called substance use disorder, is a dependence on a legal or illegal drug or medication. "
    http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/drug-addiction/basics/definition/con-20020970

    This one doesn't say "dependency", but it does say they change the way your brain works by being present in your blood stream, and lists how they do this.

    https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/understanding-drug-abuse-addiction

    The answer to the question is "no". That was pretty much the whole point of my original post.
  • stevencloserstevencloser Posts: 8,917Member Member Posts: 8,917Member Member
    RobD520 wrote: »
    moe0303 wrote: »
    Question: Does a substance have to create a dependency in order to be called addictive?

    It appears to be in the definition of substance addiction.

    "Drug addiction, also called substance use disorder, is a dependence on a legal or illegal drug or medication. "
    http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/drug-addiction/basics/definition/con-20020970

    This one doesn't say "dependency", but it does say they change the way your brain works by being present in your blood stream, and lists how they do this.

    https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/understanding-drug-abuse-addiction

    The answer to the question is "no". That was pretty much the whole point of my original post.

    According to both definitions I have posted, a substance that is addictive has to have a physical effect on your body that facilitates the addiction.
  • stevencloserstevencloser Posts: 8,917Member Member Posts: 8,917Member Member
    An effect that facilitates the addiction.
    The second link lists what it means by that.
    The first one outright says substance addiction is dependence on the substance.
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