If you or a loved one is currently struggling with food addiction, you should seek professional help as soon as possible. Food addiction, like other eating disorders, can lead to a life of diminished quality, creating a slew of physical and psychological problems and illnesses. At Eating Disorder Solutions in Dallas, TX, we provide personalized food addiction counseling and treatment aimed at targeting the underlying causes of food addiction, guiding you every step of the way toward recovery. To learn more about food addiction, its signs and symptoms, and the treatment we provide, please continue reading below. Our compassionate and dedicated team of medical professionals are here for you round-the-clock, ready to help you begin your road to recovery.
Request a Call
Request a free consultation from an Eating Disorder Coordinator.
What Is Food Addiction?
Food addiction is characterized by the uncontrollable urge to eat food, not caused by hunger but rather emotions, such as stress or sadness. Food addiction, itself, could be caused by a number of things including experience with a traumatic event, low self-esteem, peer pressure, and more. The idea that food is addictive is becoming more accepted over time as research has pointed to similarities in effects on the brain as drugs, alcohol, shopping, etc. Those with food addiction may even build a tolerance to eating.
In regards to trigger foods, foods that are closely associated with food addiction, they are typically high in sugar, fat, starch, or salt. What makes these foods the main suspects for food addiction are their flavor. A few examples of trigger foods include:
- Ice Cream
- & More
Currently, the DSM V does not have a defined classification or formal diagnosis for food addiction. And although there isn’t a formal diagnosis, it is still referred to as “food addiction” by most medical professionals, regardless of their stance (i.e. whether food addiction is a substance use disorder, behavioral disorder, etc.).
It’s also worth mentioning that although many who suffer from food addiction are obese, there are still plenty of people with normal weight as well (that suffer from food addiction). However, food addiction can play an important role in obesity. Therefore, properly educating the population on food addiction – including signs and symptoms, proper treatment, etc. – may be a good, initial preventative measure in decreasing obesity nationwide.
Signs & Symptoms of Food Addiction
The symptoms and signs of food addiction can vary for each person. They can be emotional, physical, or social – or a combination. Common food addiction signs and symptoms include:
- Obsessive food cravings and persistent compulsive eating habits
- Continually eating a lot more than initially planned
- The need or feeling to eat food to satisfy emotions (can vary)
- Unable to control the regularity or quantity of eating
- Eating alone, isolated from everyone else – tend to hide their addiction from family and friends
- Eating until sick or past the point of hunger
- Unable to control your eating habits, even if physical problems are present
- Headaches, restlessness, and irritability (all of which are common withdrawal symptoms)
- Self-induced vomiting
- Negative impact on quality of life, including family and social relationships, finances, job, etc.
- Multiple attempts at breaking the cycle of overeating, however, continual relapse
Additionally, those who have a food addiction may experience feelings of shame, remorse, or guilt following an overeating episode. And typically, although guilty, these individuals don’t have the power to refrain from doing it again.
Request a Call
Food Addiction Treatment Process
Given that food addiction isn’t explicitly recognized/classified in the DSM V, diagnosing it may be slightly difficult. Still, making sure that food addiction is treated as soon as possible is very important – whether it be residential, partial hospitalization, or outpatient treatment – for it minimizes the likelihood of long-term effects and physical consequences.
If you or someone you know are currently experiencing any of the above-mentioned signs of food addiction, you should seek medical help immediately. At Eating Disorder Solutions in Dallas, TX, we provide specialized food addiction treatment and counseling to help you overcome your compulsive eating tendencies and get you started back on the right path to a healthy life.
Food Addiction Treatment at Eating Disorder Solutions
At Eating Disorder Solutions, our compassionate staff of mental health professionals and nutritionists are here for you 24/7, aiding you in your journey to recovery and providing you the tools, resources, and support needed to take back control of your life.
Before you begin food addiction treatment, we’ll have you take part in our intake process and initial diagnosis screening, which includes preliminary questions and a general physical evaluation. And don’t worry, we’ll make sure one of our intake specialists guides you through all beginning stages of intake. These initial stages/assessments consist of a series of questions aimed at better understanding your medical history, a confidential interview, and a physical exam – a benchmark to accurately measure and assess the current state of your overall physical health. This exam consists of basic measurements such as height, weight, and BMI, as well as an examination of your lungs, heart, vital signs, and other diagnostic tests, such as blood work, EKGs, and X-rays.
Once you’ve finished the intake process and have begun treatment, we’ll introduce you to your treatment team, the group of amazing individuals who will care for you throughout treatment and will provide individualized recovery strategies and therapies that are best suited for you and your needs.
As for the different types of programs our food addiction treatment center in Dallas, TX offers, we provide residential, partial hospitalization, and outpatient treatment. While outpatient care is less intensive (an hour of therapy once or twice a week), residential treatment gives you the opportunity to solely focus on recovery. With 24/7 on-site medical monitoring and support, our food addiction treatment center offers a safe environment where individuals can heal in peace, without any stigma or judgment.
Similar to the structure and intensity of our residential program, our partial hospitalization treatment program gives food addiction patients more freedom and opportunities to recover outside of a controlled environment. Therefore, patients are only required to visit our food addiction treatment center 5-6 days a week. We understand the unique challenges and circumstances of each individual, that what may work for one may not work for another. Thus, our treatment methods may differ depending on the patient – as we make sure to continually cater to each person’s needs.
The Impact of Food Addiction if Left Untreated
If not treated promptly, food addiction can cause lifelong health complications – both physical and psychological – including negatively affecting the overall quality of life. Common examples of physical health consequences include:
- Sleep problems/disorders
- Heart disease
- Kidney or liver disease
- & More
Common examples of psychological health consequences include:
- Increased feelings of anxiety, sadness, or hopelessness
- Lowered self-esteem
- Suicidal thoughts
Food addiction can also have serious implications for your social life, including:
- Isolation from family and friends
- Avoidance of social gatherings or events
- Worsening performance at school or work
- Lack of interest in activities previously enjoyed
- Deteriorating finances
And although food addiction, at times, may seem insurmountable, know that it is. With the correct help and the right treatment and support, you’ll be able to begin on your road to recovery in no time.
Get Help Starting With Food Addiction Treatment Today
Again, if you’ve recently noticed any of the above-mentioned signs in yourself or someone you know, we recommend that you seek professional help as soon as possible. At Eating Disorder Solutions, we make sure to provide comprehensive food addiction treatment strategies, designed around your specific needs and circumstances. With a team as compassionate and dedicated as ours, Eating Disorder Solutions is determined to provide you with the right treatment and support to get you back on your feet.
If you’re ready to begin your journey towards a healthier life and happier you, contact Eating Disorder Solutions today. Our food addiction treatment center is only one call away.