Addiction is not uncommon in the UK. Most people associate addiction with substances such as drugs and alcohol or with compulsive behaviours such as gambling. However, there are many individuals in the UK and around the world struggling every day with food addictions.
For many years, it has been assumed that overweight people are just lazy or greedy, but there is increasing evidence that some can actually have an addiction to eating.
Scientists are now saying that teenagers who binge eat may have a particular gene variation that makes them twenty per cent more likely to partake in this behaviour. Those with the gene variation have a higher likelihood of eating excessively and therefore suffering from obesity. Researchers discovered that this variation, which has been found in the FTO gene locus, is more likely to affect teenage girls. Of those teenage girls with the variation, thirty per cent are more prone to episodes of binge eating, according to scientists at the Institute of Child Health in University College London.
Dr Nadia Micali, who was lead author of the study, said, “This research offers an important first step towards understanding the genetic risk for binge eating and will help inform how we develop strategies to counter the obesity crisis.”
Many studies have been carried out that show in some people food affects their brains’ reward receptors in a similar way that addictive drugs affect the reward receptors of drug addicts brains. Foods containing ingredients fat, salt and sugar have more effect than others do.
Individuals suffering food addictions are said to feel immense pleasure from eating certain foods and will quickly eat more and more of the same food in order to experience the same pleasurable feelings. These feelings of pleasure will overpower other sensations such as satisfaction and the sense of fullness and, as a result, many food addicts will overeat, despite not being hungry.
As with other addictions, food addicts can often become tolerant to certain foods; after a while, they will not get the same pleasure from certain foods as they once did.
Not all food addicts are overweight. Some people will compensate for binge eating by increasing the amount of physical exercise they do while others may take more drastic measures to rid their bodies of the food they have consumed, including making themselves sick or taking laxatives.
Food addiction can obviously cause weight gain for many, which in turn leads to obesity and lots of other health problems. However, those with an addiction may find it impossible to stop eating, despite their health being affected and relationships becoming damaged.
If you are worried that you may have a food addiction, there are a number of things to look out for. Those with an addiction to food will often eat more than they wanted to, especially when it comes to a particular type of food.
Food addicts often make themselves ill by continuing to eat even when not hungry. Those who eat to feel better may find that they have to eat more in order to get the same pleasure, as they have built up a tolerance to it.
If you feel that you may have a food addiction, help is available. Rehab Helper is a free service working with addicts and their families to help them access the treatments they need to kick their addiction. If you need help, contact Rehab Helper today.