Food Addiction Treatment – PROMIS Rehab
Food addictions and eating disorders have become evermore frequent in the modern world – with fast food being available 24/7 at the click of a button, it’s no surprise that the UK is rapidly becoming a victim of food addicts. With up to a staggering 3.4 million people affected by some type of eating disorder in the country; binge eating and unhealthy eating habits have become the norm.
Although, others have different eating disorders with distorted attitudes towards food – forcing them to reject the food, skip meals or even develop fears around certain food types. These mental health disorders are becoming ever more frequent in our society, however – PROMIS Rehab are here to help address the problem.
What is Food Addiction?
The characteristics of a food addiction consist of the inability to control one’s self around food, essentially developing a compulsive behaviour with regard to eating – much like drug addiction, compulsive overeating can take over someone’s life and cause an array of negative consequences.
As we live through Britain’s obesity epidemic, we’re seeing more and more people develop eating disorders and become addicted to food causing huge concerns for the health of those affected.
While some people suffering from food addictions develop binge eating disorders, it is not always the case for others – some food addicts have different conditions that pose different symptoms and health consequences. It’s important to recognise that these disorders are mental health conditions and can have serious consequences if not addressed imminently.
Types of Eating Disorders – Symptoms
There are various types of eating disorders that go far beyond just addiction to food – while many do struggle with food addiction, others use food as a coping mechanism and some even feel guilt and shame around eating causing them to eat as little as possible or not whatsoever.
Let’s take a detailed look at what some of these disorders typically include.
Bulimia is a mental health condition that typically involves someone participating in frequent periods of binge eating, sometimes in secret and out of sight of others, which is then followed by inappropriate compensatory behaviours – either making themselves sick, taking laxatives or performing excessive exercises.
These episodes of binging are usually uncontrolled and tend to continue even though they may no longer be physically hungry – the aftermath is an overwhelming sense of guilt or shame with the fear of gaining weight through their actions, hence the reason for taking the inappropriate measures.
Those suffering from bulimia hide it well – they generally tend to keep the same or similar body weight and go through the cycle secretly however, the health consequences of this particular condition can be extremely damaging affecting both physical and psychological aspects of the individual and by no means should it be ignored.
Here are some telltale signs and symptoms of bulimia:
- Consuming vast amounts of food in a relatively short space of time which is typically uncontrolled
- Purging – this involves expulsing the food after the binge either by forced vomiting or taking laxatives
- Adopting an extreme fear of putting weight on
- Being self-conscious and critical of their body weight or body shape
- Experiencing various mood changes such as being anxious or irritable
Binge Eating Disorder (BED)
Similarly to bulimia, binge eating disorder consists of an eating addiction that’s characterised by periods of overeating within a short timeframe that is concluded with feelings of guilt and shame.
However, this type of compulsive eating is not followed by purging exercises like bulimia which is the key distinguishing factor between the two.
As with bulimia, this food addiction may result in detrimental consequences for both physical and psychological factors that contribute to their overall health and well-being such as obesity; which can lead to other health complications like high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease whereas, in terms of psychological well-being, they may experience symptoms of depression and anxiety, low self-esteem, or even self-isolation.
Here are some symptoms and warning signs of this food addiction:
- Eating large amounts of food at a fast pace
- Eating in isolation
- Consuming certain foods (usually fast food or highly palatable foods)
- A loss of control over their eating (eating when they’re not hungry)
- Putting on lots of weight – although this doesn’t happen to everyone
- Feelings of guilt, shame and worthlessness post-eating binges
- Attempts to hide food or stock up on unnecessary items of food
- The constant need to eat
Anorexia is a serious eating disorder and although it’s not exactly a “food addiction” as such, it is characterised mainly by the psychological factor that affects how people suffering from the condition picture their bodies – generally manifesting as distorted images of thinking they’re fat when in reality, they are normal or underweight.
This mental health condition can happen at any stage of life however, it tends to arise during teenage years – predominantly in young women.
Anorexia can be extremely serious, especially if neglected or left untreated and can have significant health consequences – in some cases even death.
Here are some signs to look out for:
- Having a lower weight than what is expected relevant to the age
- Low body mass index (BMI)
- Avoiding eating, eating as little as possible and missing meals frequently
- Have a distorted image of being overweight even though they are a healthy weight
- Taking medications that suppress hunger
It’s important to note that people suffering from anorexia will also attempt to make themselves sick and take laxatives as a way of expelling food – this condition is dangerous and requires medical assistance from both physical and psychological perspectives.
Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED)
Eating disorders are not always easy to define – people are diverse in nature and therefore, their specific condition may not always fit perfectly into one of the disorders we’ve listed above.
When a person’s symptoms don’t perfectly match a particular condition or disorder, they are generally placed into the category of “other specified feeding or eating disorder”.
This umbrella term is the most commonly diagnosed disorder and it can affect just about anybody however, it is every bit as serious as the disorders mentioned above and should be treated with the same respect.
This condition ranges in symptoms and can include a mixture or combination of anorexia, binge eating and bulimia – along with other symptoms that are unique to the person.
Avoidant / Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID)
This disorder typically involves people avoiding eating certain foods or limiting how much of them they eat.
There are a number of reasons why people develop this condition however it’s not generally related to wanting to lose weight or distorted thoughts about body image – this disorder consists more of negative emotions that are associated with experiences or perceptions of certain foods.
The reasons can vary from person to person and can develop through a wide range of emotional associations they have with eating such as sensory-based avoidance or restriction of intake.
Here are some common examples of the reasons why some people develop the condition:
- Developing sensitivity to a food that associates with either; the smell, texture, taste or appearance.
- Distressing experiences with food such as choking, vomiting or experiencing some sort of pain.
- Developing fears and creating a stigma around food
- Not having the same feelings of hunger as most people
Again, this is an umbrella term and can be diverse – what might look a certain way look different for another.
These conditions can become serious issues and cause an array of health concerns for those affected, it’s crucial to get help as soon as possible if you are experiencing any of the symptoms you’ve read about today.
Consequences If Food Addictions Are Ignored?
There are a number of health consequences that arise from ignoring the fact of a food addiction or an eating disorder – just like an alcohol addiction, if left untreated it will only get worse.
Depending on the condition that the individual is suffering will depend on the potential health impacts however, what is clear is the fact that it will affect both the body and the mind.
Here are some of the potential consequences that impact health:
- Physical Health: Food addictions based around binge eating and overeating can land you in trouble with your physical health, ultimately leading you to a trip to the doctor or worse, the hospital – obesity opens the doors to various health complications which can damage vital organs and other parts of the body. Malnutrition or lack of important vitamins and minerals can result in extreme weight loss and can often be life-threatening.
- Psychological Health: All food orders take a huge toll on the mind and put a lot of stress on the mental health of an individual. Feelings of guilt, shame and disgust are a slippery slope to other issues like anxiety and depression and the longer this is left untreated, the worse it gets – the worst-case scenarios leading to self-harm and suicide.
- Social Isolation and Relationship Strain: Food addictions can become so strong that the sufferers become isolated and self-withdrawn, often avoiding interaction with others and losing touch with friends and family.
- Progression and Chronicity: As with any substance addiction that’s left untreated, as time goes on the worse it gets. By not seeking help and addressing the issues early on, the condition can develop into chronicity making the chances of recovery much harder.
Food Addiction Treatment Options
The good news is that there are treatment options available for these conditions – predominantly using a psychological approach.
Due to these disorders being linked to mental health and how food is perceived, most treatment plans are based around therapy sessions and different types of counselling that can help with managing cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
Here are some of the best options for treating food addiction.
This form of therapy consists of a one-to-one setting for those who have extremely personal issues that are associated with the food disorder. The psychiatrist focuses on one client at a time and tailors the session just for you.
This particular setting provides groups of people who share similar experiences regarding addictive food behaviours to discuss their problems together, similar to an alcoholics anonymous session.
This particular setting often creates a sense of empathy, support and reassurance for our clients.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
This is a form of talking therapy with an experienced psychotherapist who can help you manage your problems and provide guidance on how to change your thinking and behavioural patterns that help in dealing with food addiction.
This particular setting provides social support from family members who are affected by the sufferer’s disorder.
At PROMIS food addiction rehab, we understand how difficult it can be to reach out and ask for help however, we have over 35 years of experience in treating addiction and mental health issues with a very high success rate.
We create tailored treatment plans that are designed just for you so we can give you the best chance of recovering from your condition.
We have two luxury rehab locations across the UK and we offer both inpatient and outpatient settings to cater for everyone’s needs.
If you, or a loved one, is experiencing difficulties with a food disorder please pick up the phone and contact PROMIS Clinic today – let us help you get your life back on track, healthily and positively.
You can fill out this form or call us directly