Similarities Between Food Addiction & Drug Addiction

by | Apr 7, 2020 | Addiction

Similarities Between Food Addiction & Drug Addiction

Similarities Between Food Addiction & Drug Addiction

We only need to look at the increasing number of Americans that are overweight to see that many people in the U.S. have an unhealthy relationship with food. Fighting the bathroom scale and overcoming food addiction is a daily struggle for many.

For some, it can be hard to view a lack of self-control as an addiction. Understanding what addiction looks like can help you recognize the need to reach out for help.

Understanding the Battle with Food Addiction

Many of us fight a daily battle against our food intake. We eat things we know we shouldn’t eat, in unhealthy quantities. It can be as difficult for someone who binges regularly to stop, just as it is for someone using nicotine to quit cold-turkey. Why is this?

Our emotional state can profoundly affect our food intake amount. Our brain gives out a continuous signal to eat when we’re not hungry. Similarly, when an individual struggles with substance abuse, their brain begins to crave more and more.

Battling our brains by ourselves is a losing proposition. In a special edition centering on addiction, Time Magazine (1) puts this into words very well. “…as repeated exposure plays the pleasure centers in the brain, creating a feedback loop of craving, indulging, consuming, regretting – and doing it all over the next day and the next.”

We overeat, all the while knowing it’s not healthy for us. The high incidence of obesity links to higher rates of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and a host of other health problems. In addition, our self-esteem is lowered as well.

Similarities to Drug Addiction

Food addiction and drug addiction are alike in many ways. Both offer short-term satisfaction, with a quick return of cravings for more. Both have a root physiological cause and are not caused by a lack of willpower. When these addictions have stopped being fed, both have intense and physically painful periods of withdrawal. Although they are different types of addictions, they are very similar.

It is clear to see that the symptoms and thought processes associated with food addiction are similar to those of substance abuse, such as drugs or alcohol. (2) An addiction to food involves similar areas of the brain as drug addiction. The same neurotransmitters are involved and may even be identical.

Unfortunately, the brain is unable to stop craving these substances on its own. It takes the help of an accredited rehab facility to aid someone in addiction recovery.

For example, someone addicted to sweets who suddenly stops their entire intake of sugar will experience heavy withdrawal symptoms. Similarly, an individual addicted to alcohol who stops drinking will also experience painful withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms include headaches, moodiness, and physical effects, such as uncontrolled shaking, which are common to both.

Addiction to any substance, whether food, drugs or alcohol, will have an impact on mental health. In addition to a lowered self-image, feelings of depression and anxiety can be experienced as well. A rehab that offers dual diagnosis treatment will help individuals who may have underlying causes for their addiction.

Getting Help With Addiction

For many, seeking professional help has been the only way they have been able to overcome their addiction. The caring staff at Soul Surgery is here to help you emerge victorious over your daily battle.

Our staff will help you learn to set boundaries. Sheer willpower will not work. Those with a food addiction know they shouldn’t have a slice of the chocolate cake because it will set off a chain reaction of overeating which can lead to binging. This is much the same as the heroin user who can’t have just one fix. Soul Surgery will work with you to find ways that will keep you successful in your sobriety.

Soul Surgery specializes in addiction recovery and is the best solution to controlling and defeating addiction. Through individual and group therapy sessions, trained therapists have proven that they can help break these chains. The professionals at Soul Surgery work with individuals to overcome the constant cravings they struggle with daily and also develop the best plan for moving forward to avoid triggers and prevent relapse.

With help being readily available, there is no need for anyone to suffer alone and in silence. Help is one phone call away. Contact us and have someone walk with you down the road to recovery. It will be the best choice you make today.




Dr. Ravi Chandiramani
Dr. Ravi Chandiramani is a Naturopathic physician with over 15 years experience working with those struggling with addiction and alcoholism. Over those 15 years he has worked with over 7,000 patients. He is the founder of the Integrative Addiction Medicine (I-AM) model which combines evidence-based conventional addiction medicine with the nurturing and rebuilding modalities inherent to the practice of Naturopathic medicine.

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