The truth is, more than one-third of Americans are obese. Two out of three adults are overweight, and 17% of our children are overweight. So, with a dieting industry of over $40 billion a year, why are 90% of these programs failing? Today I will discuss the realities of food addiction and how it can be addressed.
What is Compulsive Eating Disorder?
A person’s addiction to food will stem from a struggle to deal with life stress, anxiety, worry, and depression. Studies show that the fat, sugar, and salt found in the food we eat releases the pleasure chemical in the brain – dopamine (root of most addictions). And over time, this ‘treatment’ for a person’s emotional and mental pain causes irrational behavior, judgment problems, procrastination, disorganization, attention deficit, and a multitude of other addictive symptoms. The reason that so many people struggle with this disorder every single day is that society fails to view food addiction in the same light as drug or alcohol addiction, they instead see it as the cause of obesity and weight gain, rather than a symptom of addiction.
How is Food Addiction Treated?
Because Compulsive Eating Disorder is an addiction and not just a struggle with weight gain, weight loss programs will not be effective for the individual without the missing piece – therapy. Food Addiction is treated much like drugs and alcohol. Common forms of therapy include; interpersonal therapy or talk therapy to help patients identify and work through underlying causes of their disorder. Group therapy, 12-step programs, and psycho-educational learning are also practiced to help patients understand their addiction and give them tools to work with to overcome it.
Patients must remember that, food addictions can be more difficult to overcome, in a way, than a drug or alcohol addiction because while you can cut drugs and drinking out of your life completely, you can’t stop eating food. This is why learning lifestyle shifts is so important and this is something your therapist can help you do.
How Do I Know if I am Addicted to Food?
Those with a food addiction may struggle with the following:
- Depression, anxiety, social phobias, and low self-esteem
- Body dissatisfaction, often with a distorted body image
- An obsession with food
- Compulsive overeating
- A dependence on food for comfort or emotional fulfillment
- Physical changes as a result of overeating
- Self-loathing, guilt and even shame.
Treatment Options Available at Dr. Amanda Itzkoff’s Practice
Dr. Itzkoff understands that recovery from an eating disorder and management of its impulses is a multi-layered, long-term effort. Her therapy is highly effective in helping patients manage extreme emotions regarding food and weight and become more self-confident and self-assured. Through talk therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy, Dr. Itzkoff helps patients recognize damaging habits and restores positive and appropriate attitudes about food and weight.
Emphasis on realistic body image, self-appreciation, and self-worth are central to the nurturing and constructive support provided by Dr. Itzkoff. Together, we focus on achieving a healthy goal weight. Through goal setting, you’ll learn how to work toward your goals in a healthy way in order to successfully achieve your goal weight. You will also learn to change your outlook on food and view it as fuel for your body instead of something to comfort you.
If you have any questions about food addiction, or would like to speak to someone about your addiction, please do not hesitate to call our team at Dr. Amanda Itzkoff, 917.609.4990.
To a healthy lifestyle and sound mind,
Dr. Amanda Itzkoff