Food addiction


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Food can be a source of tremendous pleasure but also tremendous distress. 


Healthy eating requires people to exert some conscious effort with regards to their food choices and quantity selection. 


The average  meal tends to be far more than what we need for our less than active lifestyles.


Food addiction refers to compulsive overeaters who engage in frequent episodes of uncontrolled eating (binge eating). 


The lifetime prevalence for food addiction in the United States as 2.8%.


The term binge eating means eating an unhealthy amount of food while feeling that one’s sense of control has been lost.


Overeating leads to an increase in body fat. 


Most dieting is motivated by distress or dysphoria or just displeasure over body image. 


The weight loss industry is 

worth more than $70 billion a year.


Health benefits to following a healthy diet, with obesity being the second leading cause of death in America. 


Food addiction/ eating addiction are 2 terms are used interchangeably. 


Both refer to a disorder characterized by frequent episodes of eating accompanied by a loss of control.


One can distinguish between the 2 by defining food addiction as a substance use disorder while allowing eating addiction to refer to a behavioral or process‑based disorder.


The diagnosis of binge eating disorder captures the concept of eating addiction by describing a disorder in which an individual experiences a lack of control over eating and consumes large quantities of food. 


These eating episodes will allow for a temporary escape from psychological stress, but ultimately lead to distress and sometimes lead to a cycle of unhealthy eating behaviors.


A food addiction or eating addiction is a behavioral addiction that is characterized by the compulsive consumption of palatable 

foods which markedly activate the reward system in humans.


Such foods are high in fat and high sugar content.


Psychological dependence has been observed with associated withdrawal symptoms when consumption of these foods stops by replacement with foods low in sugar and fat.


This addictive behavior is not biological.


Sugary and high-fat food have both been shown to increase the expression of ΔFosB, an addiction biomarker, in the D1-type medium spiny neurons of the nucleus accumbens.


Food addiction is usually initiated in the form of cravings.


Individuals find that they cannot cope without the craving.


Behavioral changes then occur when the need  for more food is not met, it results in binge eating, obesity, and bulimia.


The behavioral changes of food addiction manifests as a self control problem, and a problem that the body controls a persons functions so they have no say as to what they will 

consume, despite consequences of overeating.


Binge eating is associated with feeling frenzied, and consumption of  a large number of calories before stopping. 


Food binges may be followed by feelings of guilt and depression.


Binge eating with excessive intake of fats and sugars, can cause numerous health problems.


Compulsive overeaters do not attempt to compensate for their bingeing with purging behaviors, such as fasting, laxative use, or vomiting. 


Compulsive overeaters with binge eating that  experience guilt after their binges, have thr binge eating disorder (BED).


Compulsive overeaters may also engage in grazing behavior, during which they continuously eat throughout the day.


These actions result in an excessive overall number of calories consumed, even if the quantities eaten at any one time may be small.


During binges, compulsive overeaters may consume between 5,000 and 15,000 calories daily.


Binges may result in a temporary release from psychological stress.


 through an addictive high not unlike that experienced through drug abuse.


Binges may result in a high like that experienced through drug abuse. 


Compulsive overeaters tend to show brain changes similar to those of drug addicts.


A food addiction features compulsive overeating, such as binge eating as its defining characteristic.. 


Common behaviors of compulsive overeaters:  eating alone, eating  quickly, rapid weight gain, and eating to the point of feeling sick to the stomach. 


Food addicted patients have decreased mobility and the withdrawal from activities due to weight gain. 


Food addicted patients may experience 

feelings of guilt, loss of control, depression and mood swings.


Hiding consumption of food is an emotional indicator that could be a result of having a food addiction. 


Hiding consumption of food includes: eating in secret, avoiding social interactions to eat the specific foods that are craved. 


Loss  of control is indicated by: ways. One going out of the way to obtain specific foods, and spending unnecessary amounts of money on foods to satisfy cravings. 


Difficulty concentrating can indicate sense of loss of control, as can craving food despite being full, or when one knows they have a medical problem caused by the craved foods and cannot stop consuming the foods.


Food addiction is associated with decreased energy, restlessness, irritability, digestive disorders, and headaches.


In extreme cases food addiction can result in suicidal thoughts, and depression.


One proposed explanation of epidemic obesity is food addiction.


Compulsive overeating is treatable with nutritional assistance and medication. 


Psychotherapy is useful only as a complementary resource, with short-term effectiveness in middle to severe cases.


Lisdexamfetamine is an appetite suppressant drug that is indicated for the treatment of binge eating disorder.


The antidepressant fluoxetine is a medication that is approved by the treatment of an eating disorder, specifically bulimia nervosa, and 

it has been prescribed off-label for the treatment of binge eating disorder. 


Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), have shown some efficacy, as have several atypical agents, such as mianserin, trazodone and bupropion.


Anti-obesity medications are very effective.


Appetite suppressants, may be key to controlling binge eating.


Patients can overcome compulsive overeating through treatment, which should include talk therapy and medical and nutritional counseling. 


Dental appliances such as jaw wiring and orthodontic wiring for controlling compulsive overeating have been shown to be efficient ways in terms of weight control in properly selected obese patients.


Several twelve-step programs exist to help members recover from compulsive overeating and food addiction: Overeaters Anonymous.


Those with a food addiction were most likely overweight in childhood which leads to treatment resistance the longer gone untreated. 


There is a 50% of recovery at the end of treatment and follow-up.


There is a higher chance of recovery when treated in early stages such as teenage years when the symptoms are more noticeable and where there is more denial on part of the individual.


Hyperpalatable foods associated with binge eating  tend to be highly processed and high in sugars and fats. 


Consumers of hyperpalatable foods are more likely to report cravings, psychological dependence, and withdrawal.


Hyperpalatable foods tend to be energy‑dense and lead to obesity.


It may be the main cause for obesity.


Hyperpalatable and highly processed foods can affect thefunctioms of the  brain.


Eating is mediated by a network of interacting neural circuits which regulate both homeostatic food intake, to replete energy stores, and hedonic food intake, as motivated by reward.


Leptin, made predominantly by adipose cells and enterocytes in the small intestine, and ghrelin, produced by the interior endocrine cells of the GI tract 

are  the primary regulators of  food intake and appear to influence dopamine activity.


Leptin and gherlin hormones as well as GLP-1 and insulin help control hunger and appetite, but may also modulate the senses of taste and smell, increasing the value of certain cues.


Highly processed foods promotes dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens, which is central to reward‑ and addiction‑related behavior. 


In food addiction, dopamine seems to be related to food‑seeking behavior. 


Food addiction shows dopamine signaling similar to that seen in opioid and stimulant use disorders. 


The pleasurable reward from consuming highly palatable foods may be related to endogenous opioids, as an increase in new opioid receptors is seen in both food addiction and opioid use disorder.


Some people are addicted to highly processed foods and must abstain from them in order to optimize their wellness. 


Glucose administered directly to the GI tract or hepatic portal vein has been shown to promote  dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens.


Cognitive behavior therapy to help patients identify coping mechanisms for their food addiction triggers and examining their lifestyle choices.


Psychopharmacological interventions may address appetite and hunger, cravings, or dysfunction at the level of dopamine signaling or the endogenous opioid system. 


Transcranial magnetic stimulation, may decrease cravings for highly palatable foods following stimulation to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. 


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