The DSM is the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. In order to diagnose addiction it is based on questions and observations. There is no official diagnosis for food addiction. Many of the DSM criteria overlap with eating disorders such as bulimia of binge eating. It is possible to be a food addict and also have an eating disorder. Those that are diagnosed as having a binge eating disorder can actually be food addicts.
The single most important feature to suspect addiction is that of the experience of cravings and obsessions. For the food addict, cravings are typically focussed on foods that are high in sugar and fat. Cravings are about the constant thinking about favourite foods and can be just as insidious and powerful as the craving of an alcoholic or cocaine addict. Large amounts of food can overwhelm the bodies hormonal regulation and signals of satiation, even when the foods are healthy. The more you eat the more you feel good, the more you want.
The experience of putting something in the mouth, the savouring, the chewing, the crunching, and then the swallowing, is all packaged up together in a feeling of euphoria.
Diana Ross used to taste test what her chef would make, and then she would spit it out in the garbage. Apparently in her book “Secrets of a Sparrow” she revealed she was anorexic. I actually tried chewing the food, just like she did and then spitting it out in the garbage without swallowing it. She identified that she would taste test the ‘cream puffs’ that the chef had made for her children. I tried it with a number of chocolate bars and doughnuts and tried to chew without swallowing and then spitting it out, but I found it impossible and really unsatisfying.
Withdrawal symptoms are another major criterium of addiction, recovering from a hangover can last for days. Hangovers for food addiction can be identified as; moodiness, insomnia, nausea, achy-ness, nervousness, and mental fog. Food obsession means that a person spends a good portion of their day thinking obsessively about food, plotting their entire day around meals and snacks and using food as a reward just to get through the day.
Alcohol addiction can be that of alcohol grazing and this can be seen in people such as the elderly who add alcohol to their tea, for example, all day long. Food addicts may be grazers to, just constantly eating small quantities. A few peanuts here, a few jellybeans there, helping them just to get through the day. Compared to food addicts that are binge eaters, consuming large quantities of food just like binge drinkers, holding it all together during the week and then allowing themselves to have a ‘cheat day’. The cheat day can compose of the entire weeks calorie intake consumed all in one day. The binge is about soothing anxiety or numbing emotional pain.
Binge eaters often have to isolate themselves after a binge because they suffer from the bodily response of gas and bloating. Food addicts just like any other addict just intuitively know that they are engaging in self destructive behaviour. The food addict actually knows that they are obese, most probably being warned by their doctor, being scolded or questioned by family and friends, but what takes over is denial and defensiveness as well as rationalizing.
This is what is called ‘stinking thinking’ and is indicative of delusion. Every diet starts off with good intentions yet the truth is, because it is an addiction those that are addicted, simply cannot stop, and so the good intentions last for a while, but not for long. That is why there is such a huge return rate for all of those well known diet programs, just the same as the huge return rate of any addiction recovery facility.
On the quest to lose 50 pounds in a year. Can she do it? Only time will tell....with the help of this blog.