Food Addiction: Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Food addiction is a condition characterised by an overwhelming urge to consume certain foods, even when the person is not hungry. 

Tanya Srivastava
Written by: Tanya SrivastavaUpdated at: Jan 18, 2023 16:55 IST
Food Addiction: Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatment

Food addiction is a condition in which an individual becomes physically and psychologically dependent on certain foods. It is characterised by an overwhelming urge to consume certain foods, even when the person is not hungry. This can lead to a cycle of binge eating, guilt, and shame, which can have a negative impact on an individual's physical and mental health.

Symptoms of Food Addiction

Symptoms of food addiction include compulsive eating, difficulty controlling the amount of food consumed, and eating to the point of physical discomfort. Other symptoms may include weight gain, mood swings, and difficulty concentrating. Individuals with food addiction may also experience guilt and shame after eating, and may try to hide their eating habits from others.

Diagnosis of Food Addiction

Diagnosis of food addiction is often difficult, as it is not yet recognised as a formal medical condition. However, healthcare professionals may use criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) to identify individuals with this condition. The criteria include a strong desire to eat certain foods, difficulty controlling the amount of food consumed, and continued eating despite negative consequences.

Also read: Borderline Personality Disorder: Symptoms, Diagnosis, & More

Symptoms Diagnosis And Treatment Of Food Addiction

Treatment of Food Addiction

Treatment of food addiction typically involves a combination of therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is often used to help individuals identify and change negative thoughts and behaviours related to food. Medications such as antidepressants and appetite suppressants may also be used to help control cravings and reduce the urge to overeat. Lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, and developing healthy coping mechanisms, can also be helpful in managing food addiction.

In summary, food addiction is a condition characterised by an overwhelming urge to consume certain foods, even when the person is not hungry. Its symptoms include compulsive eating, difficulty controlling the amount of food consumed, and eating to the point of physical discomfort. The diagnosis of food addiction is not yet recognised as a formal medical condition, but healthcare professionals may use criteria from the DSM-5. Treatment typically involves a combination of therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes.

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