August 2020 Issue - Paisley Prescriptions
Is the constant desire to eat and a love of food considered addictive? How do people get relief from their obsessive food thoughts, which can lead to dangerous weight gain? What types of treatment are available?
Although unlisted in the manual of psychiatric diagnoses, the concept of food addiction has gained a toehold in medical literature according to WebMD.
Certain substances we ingest trigger the release of feel-good brain chemicals such as dopamine, and the body can become addicted. Addictive drugs such as cocaine and heroin activate the pleasure centers of the brain, as do highly palatable foods rich in sugar, salt and fat. The pleasurable feelings from eating these foods can override signals of satiety and result in overeating and sometimes obesity. People of normal weight can struggle with food addiction as well, but their bodies aren’t genetically programmed to gain weight.
People with food addiction can develop a tolerance for food and eat more and more even though food satisfies them less and less. In our weight loss practice, we counsel patients to cut out simple carbohydrates to help them lose weight.
Besides the addiction factor, when we eat simple carbohydrates our blood sugar climbs rapidly, and insulin is secreted to normalize our blood sugar level. In a normal person the blood glucose level drops to the “hunger level” and shortly afterward to a lower glucose level. At that point epinephrine is secreted, which causes a person to feel very anxious. After that, glucagon is secreted to normalize the blood sugar. Most people can’t tolerate the hunger and anxiety and will just eat another high carbohydrate snack--restarting the whole cycle. (Side note: Cancer cells are very dependent on glucose, so eating less-simple carbohydrates in our diets might help to slow the spread of cancer.)
Treatment for food addiction can include joining Overeaters Anonymous and getting counseling. Avoiding trigger foods and fast food outlets is also helpful. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you think you have food addiction tendencies.
Harold L. Kent, MD, specializing in Bariatric & General Surgery, is owner of Georgia Coast Surgical Med Spa & More; 3226-F Hampton Avenue, Brunswick. Call 912-264-9724 or got to Georgiacoastsurgical.com, Facebook: Georgia Coast Surgical & Med Spa.
Is consistent on-line shopping and/or the continuous ordering of products from television shopping networks, considered an addiction?
What treatments are there?
First, let’s discover what an addiction is: Addiction is a brain disorder that develops over time from high levels of exposure to an addictive stimulus.
There are many addictions.
In fact, most anything can become an addiction:
> Video Games
> Sexual Activity
> Cocaine/Heroin/other illegal drugs
In this time of Covid-19, many are relying on internet shopping for essentials. Ordering online with no-contact pick-up, binging on delivery to your door; who can beat the safety of this? But are you experiencing an “I Got a Deal” elation over and over again? A great deal is only great until the next even greater deal comes along. Then, when the credit card bill arrives your jaw drops!
How do you know if your “I Got a Deal” is becoming an addiction?
> You get no emotional response
> You lack self-control
> You are unable to stop
> You have an increased desire for action
> You have disregard for consequences
What do you do if you find yourself obsessed with online shopping?
> Support Groups
Those with a shopping addiction may suffer from mental health issues and other forms of addiction. You should seek medical help first. Visit your primary care physician and discuss referrals to mental health professionals.
And, try going outside to enjoy nature, or making masks for those in need. Keep your hands busy and your mind occupied.
Explain types of gambling addictions and ways to help people cope.
What types of treatment are available?
Most of us think of Casinos and the Lottery when the word “gambling” comes up. But how about that weekly poker game? Betting on your golf scorecard? Fantasy Football? Are you obsessed?
It starts as experimentation, then moves to a social activity, which can be the catalyst for escalating to a problem or risk—and then, dependency.
The consequences of a gambling addiction are:
> Anxiety, stress, depression
> Physical health
> Possible jail time
> Relationship problems
> Support Groups
> Inpatient Treatment
Deborah Riner, C.Ht. is a Clinical Hypnotherapist, Reiki Master, Glynn County Board of Health Member and Owner of Coastal Hypnosis Center: 1608 Reynolds Street, Brunswick, GA, 31520. Call: 912.261.8906 or go to: www.coastalclinicalhypnosiscenter.com, Facebook: Coastal Hypnosis Center.