The Role of Psychotherapy in Realizing and Sustaining Recovery from Food Addiction
The founder of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud had described addiction in a letter to his friend Wilhelm Fleiss in the following words: It has occurred to me that musterbation is the one great habit that is a primary addiction and that the other addictions for alcohol, morphine, etc. only enter into life as a substitute and replacement for it.
With this analogy, we can presume that addiction is a malpractice behavior. When a person is engaged in the continuous application of a product or activity leading to harmful consequences, the characteristic of these conditions is described as an addiction. Addiction is related to an intense sense of enjoyable feeling caused by the release of Dopamine, a neurotransmitter, responsible for pleasure like attributes and cravings for repetition of the action.
The term of addiction refers to drug consumption and irregular habitual activities but, addiction may also cause by food intake if eating large quantities become an obsession to the patient. Many studies have found that food addiction is
similar to that of addiction to drugs. Furthermore, both kinds of addiction may lead to corresponding health and mental issues.
All kinds of addiction involve the same regulatory functions in the brain and, most of the people get addicted due to sentimental purpose.
The area in the brain that is primarily concerned with addiction is called the Reward System. The name comes from its crown property of releasing Dopamine, a hormone that is only released during food intake and sexual activity. It plays a crucial part in human survival by creating a delightful sensation. Part of the brain's limbic system, the extended amygdala, releases Norepinephrine factors that are associated with emotions and memories. Taking drugs challenges the arousal of the hormone leading to stress or anti-stress properties, subsequently related to bad or good memories. Combining the efforts of the Reward center and extended amygdala the brain wants to experience pleasure sensation simultaneously. Good feeling brings about good memories that addicts want to repeat to experience pleasure. The memory of taking drugs reminds of the extreme delights of the pleasant sensation that forces to repeat those behaviors and habit choice.
Nevertheless, when we are talking about food addictions, it is only reasonable to doubt if it is an addiction at all. An article from Scientific American reveals that obesity is the result of addiction to fats and Sugars. The researchers from The University of Bordeaux suggest craving sugar is comparable to the magnitude of Cocaine and other addictive drugs. Several eating disorders are attributed to addiction. Binge-eating disorder (eating large quantities of junk food), Downright syndrome (consumption of excessive added sugar), Bulimia, a stage of withdrawal (attempts to get rid of the food by vomiting or taking laxatives) are to name amongst few. Statistics show that 5% of the total population of a country jostle with the problem of food addiction.
It is regardless to say that all kinds of addiction are the process of continuing practices. Addicted people need attention and special care along with distinguishing medication. To realize the best method of treatment, we need to realize the root cause of the behavior first. In a few studies, it has been found that addiction is provoked by loneliness. The feeling of abandonment and inferiority complex turns one's attention towards getting pleasure by repeating addicting behavior. As the amygdala stimulates good memories and good feelings, one gets accustomed to repeating this method to receive momentarily happiness.
Like drug users increase their dose over time, food addicts increase the consumption of foods gradually. It happens because when the body gets used to a particular portion of drugs the secretion of dopamine decreases, so, it doesn't have the same pleasurable effect as before. To attain the former feeling addicts then increase their amounts of drug/food intake, taking the process to the next step. Experts have named this phase, tolerance. One of the earliest signs of addiction. Though the cravings get stronger day by day, the intuition about this dangerous situation makes the system want to bounce back to normal. While the body is adjusted with too much consumption, it eventually creates a physical dilemma along with irritability. This event is called withdrawal. A person does not only face health problems, but also social awkwardness leads to stress processed breakdown of confidence and self-esteem.
The problem of food addiction can only be solved with psychotherapeutic counseling. A therapist can approach a patient with appropriate techniques for relief. Through supportiveness and expressiveness, it becomes easy to access and gain a patient's trust. This idea comes with two goals. One is to find the reason for food dependence and, the other is to build up reliable confidence within the relationship.
Following the instance, a therapist provides support via their relationship and collects information through character interpretation. Personality change is difficult for addicted people. As Klein said, the main concept is to understand the patient’s wishes and their consequences.
The new-age therapists are applying Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for treating eating disorders. The core focus of this treatment is to understand the feeling and thought process of the addict and develop strategies as according. The effectiveness of this treatment is recommended by The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)-UK. The treatment includes psych education, behavioral experiment, reduction of body avoidance, challenging mindset and
Psychotherapy is the expertise science of human behavior. One to one interaction between therapist and patient, yield much more efficacy to the treatment. Needless to say, that food addiction problem is best handled through nutrition counselors in giving new meanings and, opening doors of opportunity in life. The necessity and impact of psychotherapy are subject to resourceful realization for salvation from the evil of food addiction.