‘Eating addiction’ is not yet a disorder that can be diagnosed clinically, but patients often ask doctors how they can get rid of this addiction. This addiction is usually assessed using the ‘Yale Food Addiction Scale’.
How common is this addiction?
There are many reasons responsible for overeating. The abundance of ‘fast food’, junk food advertisements and the overly palatable ingredients used in many processed foods drive us to eat them even when we are not hungry. However, there are some people who may not be hungry and may not like the dishes, but they cannot stop themselves from eating. About one in six people (15 to 20 percent of people) suffer from this addiction.
Do you have this problem too?
Generally, people get addicted to those foods, which are very tasty, in which the amount of energy, fat, salt or sugar is high, but they contain less nutrients. Debate continues as to whether the substance of a dish causes addiction or the way a person eats it, or whether it is due to both.
Our latest research has linked food addiction in adolescence to poor quality of life or low self-confidence, and this addiction can increase over time. In adults, it is associated with increased weight or poor mental status.
How to treat it?
Several methods are being tested for its treatment. One method is the use of drugs that target the appetite hormone, such as naltrexone and bupropion. Also most commonly used in Australia is the ‘gastric banding’ procedure, where an accommodating band is tied over the upper part of the stomach to apply pressure and reduce appetite.
In addition, holistic and individualized approaches to lifestyle such as diet and physical activity show promising results.