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Why Is Food "Addiction" So Controversial?

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  • 33gail3333gail33 Member Posts: 745 Member Member Posts: 745 Member
    As someone who literally writhed and gnashed teeth with perceived "want" of certain trigger foods I can say some days it feels harder than quitting smoking.

    When quitting smoking I stopped going places people smoke, stopped hanging with people while they smoke, and they hide them behind closed doors in the shops now so I dont see them and they smell gross.

    If only the same could be said for avoiding people who eat and while they eat and that cherry covered black forest cake in the bakery case looking and smelling so inviting on the way to the checkout.

    Dont have to constantly plan life around avoiding smokers anymore 3 years later but have to look at food all the time and watch every bite. Ahh to become a Breathatarian...

    Yeah to me stopping eating certain foods is harder than stopping drinking so idk. I just can't moderate chocolate or potato chips - but I "gave up" wine last fall. I was an almost daily drinker, and now I have no problem having a glass or two of wine once in a while, and then not thinking about it again another couple of weeks. With me drinking wine was more of a habit that I associated with things, and once that habit was broken I don't crave it or anything. Certain foods on the other hand I do. Like I can have one glass of wine and stop, but I will eat all the chocolate until it is gone.
  • ninerbuffninerbuff Member, Greeter Posts: 45,139 Member Member, Greeter Posts: 45,139 Member
    My stance on food "addiction" is that you can't avoid eating food.

    Other addictions like opiates, drugs, alcohol, gambling, etc. CAN be avoided without the person impairing their physical health.
    Since I also believe that addictions are more mental than physical, mental health also has to be addressed when trying to deal with getting people away from what they are addicted to.

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    edited March 30
  • leiflungleiflung Member Posts: 83 Member Member Posts: 83 Member
    I have no idea what obvious signs you'd expect to see. This kind of trauma is generally invisible. For the most part, you can't even ask people. They'll say they had no childhood trauma when they were raped at the age of 6.

    You aren't just making some assumption sometimes. You're always ignorant. Hiding your pain is a survival strategy.

    But I also don't know that you're providing an out. In either case there is hard work to be done. Either through self-discipline or trauma recovery or addiction recovery. In all cases, you have a problem that only you can fix. In all cases, you can easily not solve it and make excuses, instead.

    Each of us is responsible for our happiness. That is always true. I don't think calling food an addiction has any relevance to that.
  • kshama2001kshama2001 Member Posts: 24,043 Member Member Posts: 24,043 Member
    leiflung wrote: »
    I think the word "Addiction" trips people up.

    Just like alcohol and opiates, overeating is a coping mechanism. This is known. The largest study ever done on the long-term health effects of childhood trauma originated at an obesity clinic, the ACE study.

    There are ways to become addicted to alcohol and opiates without having significant childhood trauma. It happens. If you have to take Vicodin every day for months to manage pain, you can become addicted. As far as I know, people don't develop compulsive eating habits that lead to obesity in this accidental way.

    That's a significant difference.

    But, your chances of becoming an alcoholic, an opium addict, a compulsive gambler or obese all increase significantly according to how much childhood trauma you were subject to.

    For many people, overeating treats a problem that will not vanish with weight loss.

    Who they are, how they feel all the time when they aren't overeating, is unbearable to them.

    That makes it almost identical to an addiction. You can really only split hairs about how that unbearableness came to be and how we understand it physiologically.

    But yes, there are people for whom not eating compulsively feels intolerable.

    I think, if we can just understand that, quibbling about whether to call is an addiction is irrelevant.

    When I was watching season 3 of "My 600 Pound Life" I noted that all of the patients had some sort of abuse or trauma in childhood.
    edited April 21
  • kshama2001kshama2001 Member Posts: 24,043 Member Member Posts: 24,043 Member
    As someone who literally writhed and gnashed teeth with perceived "want" of certain trigger foods I can say some days it feels harder than quitting smoking.

    When quitting smoking I stopped going places people smoke, stopped hanging with people while they smoke, and they hide them behind closed doors in the shops now so I dont see them and they smell gross.

    If only the same could be said for avoiding people who eat and while they eat and that cherry covered black forest cake in the bakery case looking and smelling so inviting on the way to the checkout.

    Dont have to constantly plan life around avoiding smokers anymore 3 years later but have to look at food all the time and watch every bite. Ahh to become a Breathatarian...

    Yes, when I stopped self-medicating with alcohol etc I was able to just never do it and avoid the friends and places I'd been doing it.

    So much simpler!

    It was also really easy to shut down my alcohol Addictive Voice but my food Addictive Voice is so much sneakier...
  • CorvusCorax77CorvusCorax77 Member Posts: 2,535 Member Member Posts: 2,535 Member
    All i know is I could be eating to the point of being painfully full and thinking about what I'm going to eat next. If that isn't addict behavior, I dunno what is.
  • janejellyrolljanejellyroll Member, Premium Posts: 25,741 Member Member, Premium Posts: 25,741 Member
    Psychgrrl wrote: »
    All i know is I could be eating to the point of being painfully full and thinking about what I'm going to eat next. If that isn't addict behavior, I dunno what is.

    It’s a sign of a problem behavior, not a hallmark of addiction. There is likely a psychological driver (or two) behind your (seemingly) binge eating. Addictive behaviors impact most facets of a person’s life. The addiction is the most important and only thing. It is all-consuming. Eating so much food and not leaving enough for others, eating to the point of not working or socializing (or being functional enough to do so), buying food to the point of bankruptcy—all due to the inability to do anything else. That is the what addiction does to people. It can literally ruin their lives and take everyone and everything from them.

    I’ve struggled with food, certain foods, at times. But I am in no way addicted to them.

    As some of you know from previous posts, I am solidly in the “food is not an addiction” camp. Having worked with addicts in recovery, “food addiction” is not a thing in the same way. Many of us have bad habits around food. 🙋🏻‍♀️ And there are some treatments used for both food issues and addictions. But that doesn’t mean they’re the same thing. Not being addicted doesn’t necessarily mean someone can just wake up one day and say, I’m done with chocolate (or 🍟 in my case). It also doesn’t mean it’s simple or that it won’t take work.

    But it does mean we’re starting from a different place than an addict and it doesn’t involve chemical, physical withdrawal symptoms. Even when we have cravings. I have cravings. And I promise, it’s not the same as the cravings of someone coming off heroine has who just wants another hit. We need to learn different behaviors and don’t have to overcome the same barriers as an addict. Including being an addict for life.

    And eating disorders are not treated in the same way as addictions. Different class of behaviors.

    Yes, I think sometimes this conversation is heard as "If you're not addicted, then you also can't have disordered eating or problems around regulating your food intake." As you explain here, that's not at all what I think people are saying. Something can be a real problem for someone and not necessarily be an addiction. Many people who have or had excess weight have what I would call "food problems." Many people who don't have excess weight probably have food problems too.
    edited April 27
  • gisem17gisem17 Member Posts: 50 Member Member Posts: 50 Member
    Why is food addiction so controversial? Because whichever side you land on, someone gets offended.
    If I say I have a food addiction, everyone who has been involved with a chemical addiction is immediately offended because I dared trivialize their experience by comparing it to my own. When they say I don't have an addiction, they are offending me by trivializing my very-real-to-me problem as nothing.
    It seems like we should be able to reach a compromise where a perceived food addiction is recognized as something real that needs to be resolved while still acknowledging that it is not as intense as a chemical addiction.
    What I used to call a food addiction, I now believe is actually Binge Eating Disorder (yes, I know, I should confirm that with my Dr). Hopefully, by giving it a more accurate name, I can address that issue without offending those with different issues.
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