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Food Addiction Symptoms

The symptoms of food addiction affect an individual physically, emotionally, spiritually and socially. Food addicts gain pleasure from the anticipation of eating, the availability of food or from actually eating food. This pleasure leads to excessive eating, typically of the wrong types of foods, that can lead to increased weight gain, poor self-image, and a range of other medical conditions. Often times, food addicts do not even realize that they are addicted to food as their addiction and improper eating habits have simply become a way of life.

Early detection of a food addiction is vital to the successful recovery for the individual. Further, the sooner that one realizes the need for help, the least chance there is for negative consequences to have set in such as extreme weight gain, physical illness or other problems that are associated with eating too much or consuming the wrong foods.

Not all food addictions result in weight gain though. In some cases, an individual’s decision to consume large amounts of food is followed by excessive exercising, vomiting or use of laxatives to eliminate or reduce that number of calories that were eaten. This is known as bulimia. In other cases, excessive eating is followed by instances of limiting food for days or even weeks at a time which is a form of anorexia. Both of these eating disorders are characterized by an addiction in some manner to food and can lead to extreme weight loss.

Physical Food Addiction Symptoms
  • Inability to control cravings for food or to control amount of food that is eaten
  • trying many different weight loss or diet programs but still excessively consuming food
  • vomiting, using laxatives or exercising in excess to avoid weight gain as a result of over consumption of food

Each of these physical symptoms of food addiction can lead to long term consequences. Those who vomit regularly to overcome the fact that they ate a large amount of food are likely to suffer from tooth decay, esophageal problems, malnutrition and a range of other issues as a result of their addiction. In time, an obsession with food, whether it’s an obsession with not eating, overeating and dieting to cover it up or using diuretics or other methods to reduce weight from overeating, a food obsession can lead to rash physical problems and could even result in death if left untreated.

Social Symptoms of Food Addiction
  • eating behind closed doors to prevent others from seeing what you are eating or how much
  • avoiding social interactions because you feel like you cannot be around others due to a lack of ability to control your eating
  • avoiding social interactions because you don’t feel like you look good enough or have clothes that fit correctly due to your eating habits
  • stealing food from others
  • obsessing over food and paying more attention to the food that is being served than to those friends or family members who you will be consuming the food with

Socially, food addiction leads to an intense obsession with food that can distract us from the things that really matter such as spending time with friends or family members. In time, the food addict will find more time to spend with food and may spend less and less time socially interacting in a healthy way with others. Many food addicts will hide food or steal food from others so that they can secretly indulge on the foods behind closed doors.

Emotional Symptoms of Food Addiction
  • feeling ashamed about your weight
  • feeling depressed or sad about your weight or self-image
  • feeling hopeless when it comes to losing weight
  • eating when upset or depressed
  • eating as a reward for a job well done
  • eating when you are not hungry
  • becoming anxious or irritable when eating certain foods or when not eating or if there doesn’t seem to be enough food

Food addiction can have an adverse effect on our emotions that leads to mood swings and other mental health problems. Some food addicts will suffer from great depression or anxiety as a result of their inability to control their eating habits despite a desire to eat less and to improve their self-image. Others are emotional eaters who eat just because they are happy or just because they are sad but when these emotions take over their eating slips out of control.

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