Understanding connections between obesity and food addiction: When food becomes a problem instead of a source of energy

Understanding connections between obesity and food addiction

Understanding connections between obesity and food addiction is very real in the sense that both if not addressed in good time, can lead to serious and life threatening complications.

Is it really true that people can be addicted to food? If we need food to supply the energy we need in the body then does it make sense to insinuate that food can be very addictive? This is what we want to interrogate in this case study of understanding connections between obesity and food addiction. In the past we have been making reference to addiction as a dependence on any substance that causes the affected individual to feel powerless to stop. And because of this fact, millions around the world are today struggling with addictions problems, and surprisingly food addiction is among one of the most common forms of addiction that doctor Dalal Akoury (MD) and founder of AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center is going to help us rediscover as we progress into the discussion. Several studies have established that nearly 80% of gastric bypass pre-surgical patients suffer from food addiction. These studies, along with those of other investigators, also found that the behavioral biochemical causes and effects underlying food addiction are nearly identical to those of other self-destructive addictions.

Understanding connections between obesity and food addiction: Turning to food to cope with feelings of low self-worth

One of the most common behavioral characteristic of people who are suffering from self-destructive addictions is the feeling of not being good enough. The feelings of low self-worth in turn may cause a poor self-image, low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, a need to over achieve and an intense and chronic fear of failure. These are not experiences that are not conducive for life and must not be given space to grow. Measures must be taken to prevent them however if they are already with us, then immediate treatment solution must be taken professionally. If you are struggling with any kind of addiction, you must never demine yourself for being in such situation instead you need to seek for help by calling doctor Dalal Akoury to schedule for an appointment so that your problem can be dealt with professionally in good time.

It is regrettable that some of the problems we have with addiction are society based. Studies have established that as a society, we have set certain unattainable standards which are very unreasonable and unrealistic for worthiness. So whenever one is not able to meet such they feel belittled and this is seen as of great impact to the addicts who are not only suffering from the negative feelings about themselves but are also struggling with the element of stress and failure to develop the stress coping skills or strategies. The dangers comes in the sense that instead of confronting life stressors directly or finding healthier ways to manage emotions such as through exercise, journaling, relaxation, spiritual care, therapy etc., the “addict” often seeks to avoid unpleasant feelings by eating, drinking alcohol, smoking, using drugs, gambling and various other ways of escaping from reality.

Doctor Akoury is reporting that according to one collaborative study it was established that more than 90% of pre-surgical morbidly obese patients use avoidance stress coping behavior to handle emotions, seeking comfort from negative feelings and stressful situations through the use and sometimes the abuse of food. And remember that there are strong associations between avoidance coping behavior, food addiction and lack of control over eating, with most food addicts feeling that they have no control over their addiction in spite of having complete knowledge of its negative social and health consequences. Nonetheless they compassionately recognize the adverse effects the addiction has on friends, family, and self, but feel powerless over such behavior. This generates feelings of guilt and remorse thereby worsening the addictions and setting in motion a vicious cycle of avoidance and abuse.

According to the experts at AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center, negative feelings toward self, remorse, guilt and inappropriate stress coping behavior is likely to cause neurochemical changes within the brain which can adversely influence mood and cause a physical dependency for the addictive substance. These neurochemical defects occur in the limbic system of the brain, the area of the brain responsible for controlling moods and basic functions such as eating.

Understanding connections between obesity and food addiction: The Body’s Stress Response

When individuals are confronted with stressful situations, specific hormones are produced, which help the body to cope with the situation. One of the body’s stress response pathways, known as the limbic-hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (LHPA) axis, generates a series of brain hormones that eventually lead to production of cortisol by the adrenal gland. Cortisol helps to make available more sugar to the brain and other parts of the body to help cope with the stressful event.

Individuals who are under chronic stress (including those who have constant negative feelings of self) have an overactive LHPA axis. Hyperactivity of this axis has been reported in individuals who are obese as well as alcoholics, drug users, smokers and victims of early abuse or trauma. Elevated cortisol levels on an ongoing basis are not only harmful to health, but also harmful to mood. It can cause depression. It also affects mood by interfering with the actions of one of the brain’s major messengers, serotonin. Serotonin defects cause depression and anxiety. Many alcoholics, smokers, drug addicts and obese individuals suffer from depression and anxiety. Nicotine, alcohol and certain drugs increase serotonin activities and temporarily improve mood. These addictions are a means of self-medication.

Understanding connections between obesity and food addiction: Food as Medication

Carbohydrates also raise serotonin levels and enhance mood temporarily. Studies have shown that the majority of individuals who are obese crave for carbohydrates. Low serotonin and stress induced activation of the LHPA axis are also known to increase the risk for substance abuse and food addiction through another feel good pathway, the dopamine reward system.

The pleasure derived from substances such as alcohol, nicotine and certain drugs are, in part, due to the stimulation of dopamine. Eating foods high in sugar, fat or even the smell or taste of an individual’s favorite food activates the dopamine reward system, producing pleasure and satisfaction. Frequent use of addictive substances, such as nicotine, alcohol and food, reduces the pleasurable effects of the dopamine reward system so that more and more of the substance is required to derive satisfaction. Therefore to be safe if this description suits you, then you need to seek for help now by consulting with the experts at AWAREmed Health and Wellness Resource Center under the able leadership of doctor Dalal Akoury and all your addiction problems will be addressed professionally leaving you comfortable and healthy to live your life to the fullest.

Understanding connections between obesity and food addiction: When food becomes a problem instead of a source of energy