Food Addiction and Obesity Go Hand in Hand

food addiction

When you think of the word addiction you think of alcohol and drugs, even sex. No one ever wants to acknowledge that the most dangerous drug anyone can ever be addicted to is food. It is the one drug that you can never completely give up because without it you can not survive. It is the reason why one of the top five topics of discussion in society today is the epidemic of obesity and how it has been on the rise in the U.S. for the past 20 years.

Society is quick to conclude that those who are obese don’t care enough about their condition to really try and do something about it. However, studies are now showing that a possible and feasible explanation for those that have become obese is because of an addiction to food.

What exactly is food addiction?

Simply put it is an unhealthy relationship with food. There is not just one cause and there is not any simple solution. Those with a food addiction have an unhealthy relationship with food and are eating for all of the wrong reasons. They eat for comfort or to numb their feelings of depression or loneliness. They sometimes eat because they don’t feel good about themselves or even out of guilt for overeating. At times they develop an obsession with food for the sheer ability to have control over something in their lives.

Food addiction results in obesity

While society would like to believe that food addiction is something made up simply to excuse the behavior of those obese, there are in fact studies that show that this addiction does in fact have merit. According to Dr. Valerie Taylor, who is an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at McMaster as well as the director of the Bariatric Surgery Psychiatry Program at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, compulsive and out of control tendencies to eat play a fundamental role in causing obesity (Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ)).

Of approximately two thirds of the adults in the United States that are overweight, more than 72 million of them are considered to be obese. According to the American Obesity Association, approximately 64.5% of adult Americans are categorized as being overweight or obese. It is a disease that causes at least 300,000 premature deaths in the U.S. every year.

Signs that you may be addicted to food

  • Obsessively thinking about food (preoccupation with it)
  • The continuous urge to eat
  • Eating when you are feeling depressed
  • Eating in secret
  • Eating when you are not hungry
  • Eating food regardless of the knowledge that it’s bad for you
  • Feeling guilty about eating
  • Unable to stop the destructive eating patterns

Things you can do to curb your urge for unhealthy eating

  • Don’t mask your emotion; deal with them head on
  • Instead of eating, go workout at the gym
  • Do work and keep busy
  • Watch television or a movie
  • Call a friend and talk about what you’re feeling

For people who are suffering from food addiction it is a constant struggle to battle the urge to eat when they know they are not hungry. The struggle comes in not allowing food to be used as their crutch. To simply acknowledge that they have a problem with food is not going to stop them from eating emotionally. A person with a food addiction has to reevaluate his relationship with food and reexamine the reasons why he is eating uncontrollably.

There is no 12-step program that people who have a food addiction can go to. There are no sponsors and no psychiatric drug to subside the urges to eat. The decision to change the way they relate to food is solely up to them. It is a battle that has yet to be won.

Chocolate addictions: Could your occasional chocolate addiction actually be good for you?

chocolate

Dark chocolate, and in particular the cocoa in the chocolate, has exhibited significant health benefits in the last decade in numerous clinical studies. Cocoa is high in polyphenols, substances which help to lower inflammation in the body, boost the immune system, and scavenge free radicals. Just recently a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that cocoa also helps to lower blood pressure.

What are Polyphenols

Polyphenols are a type of bioflavonoid that we normally associate with fruits and vegetables, not chocolate. But what we often forget is that chocolate does come from a plant. But by the time it reaches our mouths it has been processed and things like milk, fat, and sugar have been added to make it more enjoyable to our palate.

Chocolate, or cocoa in its original form, contains more than 60% of procyanidins. This particular type of polyphenol is not present in as high amounts in teas, fruits or vegetables, and it appears this type is the most effective on blood pressure.

Measuring the Effect

To measure the effect of polyphenols on blood pressure researchers compared the regular use of black tea, green tea, and cocoa on blood pressure. They found that cocoa, consumed regularly for two weeks lowered blood pressure to the same degree of prescription medications. Black tea and green tea did not have such an effect.

The authors concluded that cocoa’s effect on blood pressure could have a dramatic impact on cardiovascular health and deaths due to stroke and heart attack. They estimated a potential decrease of 10-20 percent risk of stroke and heart attack.

But reader beware. Cocoa is the active agent here, not chocolate. Read the ingredient list on your favorite chocolate bar or treat and you will see that cocoa is farther down than you would expect. However, this can be remedied for chocolate lovers by seeking out the dark chocolate bars.

Some makers of chocolate bars will offer a 70-85 percent cocoa bar with minimal added sugar and fat. Using bulk chocolate may also be an option, again opting for the dark variety.

White Chocolate

And make sure to avoid white chocolate. Because even though the flavor is excellent, white chocolate has had virtually all the polyphenols removed. Because of its relatively low polyphenol content, it does not offer any of the health benefits mentioned above.

Please remember the health benefits of dark chocolate are found in moderation. Excess consumption of dark chocolate on a daily basis may lead to weight gain and an increase in body fat. But when eaten in moderation, the health benefits are very apparent.

Pornography Addiction and Recovery: Abstain From Pornography

pornography addiction

Pornography addiction recovery is indeed very important, because pornography is now posing a threat to many people. During the early part of the 20th century, a person had to secretly look to buy adult videos, and such an individual was often frowned upon.

Today, pornography literally looks for the people. Innovational technologies such as television and the internet are catalysts for pornography. Pornography literally saturates the internet nowadays, and everyone can easily be exposed to it.

Many children are often bombarded by illicit pornographic pop-ups when researching essays or doing homework online. Pornographic sites are becoming so prevalent that anyone can easily gain access to them. Many people are now addicted to pornography, and are seeking help.

How the Addiction Begins

The majority of people who are addicted to pornography were exposed to it at a very young age—usually between eight to 14 years old. At this age, the brain is not fully accustomed to sexual desires yet. As a result, the illicit images of pornography are tattooed into the brain.

During the first glance and experience of pornography, the person may get a strong feeling of arousal, and satisfaction. It is somewhat similar to how drugs work: the feeling and satisfaction are often very great during the first time. Eventually, the individual starts developing tolerance,which means that they need more of the pornographic content to get that same feeling again.

Now the person will start going through a cycle of watching pornography. The person will often seek out opportune times to watch it, usually when alone. This then becomes a habit, and then evolves into an addiction.

Eventually the addict will start to realize the negative effects of pornography: hurtful conscience, abnormal sexual urges, and the fear of being caught. Therefore the individual starts to look for ways to quit the addiction. Sadly, it is often too late when most people when start to look for addiction recovery, because the brain is now programmed to watch it.

The Effects of Pornography on the Brain

In order to quit pornography, it is essential to know about its effect on the brain. Pornography primarily the affects the limbic system part of the brain, which is basically the part of the brain that acts by instinct. The limbic system is that part of the brain that reacts by instinct, and enables humans to survive.

When people feel hungry, their mouths will start to secrete fluids to prepare for digestion. When people feel cold, their skin pores expands to absorb more heat, and the body shivers to generate heat through mechanical energy. All of these things are not voluntary; they are done by instinct alone. The limbic system of the brain looks for ways to survive various situations.

When the brain is programmed to watch pornography, the limbic system now thinks that pornography essential for the body. Therefore when the individual is tired, sad, and aroused, pornography immediately comes into mind.

Smoking Addiction – Take Control of the Habit

smoking addiction

Cigarettes have been around for centuries. Initially associated with style, cigarettes were first deemed hazardous by the State of Massachusetts in 1963 because of the concern for fire safety versus health.

The Surgeon General warns cigarette smoke contains carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a poison that when inhaled keeps the oxygen in the bloodstream from reaching the lungs, which in turn, poisons the red blood cells. If enough oxygen is not being feed into the body, the body will stop functioning.

According to reports by the Surgeon General “Cigarette smoking is the major single cause of cancer mortality in the United States.” Statistics show that more people die from smoking cigarettes than alcohol or car accidents.

What Causes Smoking Addiction

It is a fact that smoking is hazardous to a person’s health, but it is not easy to quit because the addiction has control.

Studies show that cigarette smoking usually begins during adolescents and develops into severe smoking as age progresses. Studies also show that being addicted to tobacco is similar to being addicted to any other drug.

It can be difficult to have that first cup of coffee without a cigarette? Or handle a stress filled day at work without breaking for a cigarette? The habit turns in to addiction. Once nicotine is inhaled, the body reacts right away, increasing the blood pressure, heart rate and thinning of the arteries.

Tips to Quit Smoking

To quit smoking can be a challenge, but knowing the facts can be a motivator to quit. As with any addiction, admitting that there is a problem is the first step. According to the American Heart Association, the withdrawal process is mental and physical and will cause people to experience:

  • irritability
  • mood swings
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • low heart rate
  • increased appetite
  • weight gain

Some can quit smoking ‘cold turkey’ and others may need help. Discuss the desire to quit smoking with a health professional to map out a plan that will work best.

The Benefits of Quitting Smoking

When experiencing the withdrawal process, it can appear that there is no light at the end of the tunnel. A person will not feel better right away, but reports claim that the body will start to see improvement within 12 hours after smoking the last cigarette. Following is not a complete list of the benefits, but an indication of what can occur over a period of time after quitting:

  • Blood pressure will decrease
  • Carbon monoxide level drops
  • The risk of a heart attack will decrease
  • Improved circulation
  • Sense of taste and smell are restored
  • Decreased risk of lung cancer
  • Regain energy

There is a warning on cigarette packs and literature available to advise people of the danger s of smoking, but when the body is controlled by a substance it can be difficult to heed the advice.

Try documenting the number of cigarettes being smoked in a day, analyze the time and why. Place notes on the refrigerator as a reminder of the affects and the effect to take control of the smoking addiction.

Signs of Gambling Addiction

gambling addiction

If you’re preoccupied with casino or online wagering, consider the signs of gambling addiction to determine if an addiction recovery program is in order.

More than 2 million adults in the United States are considered compulsive gamblers, while up to 8 million have a gambling problem, according to the Keeping the Score website. Although an occasional trip to a casino or a sports bet with friends may be harmless, exhibiting signs of gambling addiction may indicate that the pastime has become an addiction that can affect your finances, personal relationships and professional life.

Feeling the Need to Bet

Compulsive gamblers not only feel the urge to wager because they enjoy gambling, but also use betting as a diversion from work, a stress reliever or an escape from relationship problems. If you suspect you’re addicted to gambling, consider keeping a journal to jot down the times you gamble, how you were feeling before you placed a bet and how you felt after. If you’re using gambling as an escape from “real life,” you may benefit from an addiction recovery program.

Boosting your Bets

Signs of gambling addiction may include increasing the actual amount that you’re betting. Whether you suffer from an online gambling addiction, bet on sporting events or visit a local casino, you may find yourself not only making larger wagers to feel a bigger “thrill,” but also increasing your bets in the hopes of scoring big to make up for past losses.

Lying about a Gambling Addiction

Attempts to cover up a trip to the casino, race track or a session of online wagering may indicate compulsive gambling. If you stay up after your family has gone to bed to gamble online in private, claim to be working late when you’re actually at a casino or devise ways to leave the house so you can gamble, you may be addicted to gambling.

Controlling the Finances

If you’re married, you may be exhibiting a compulsive gambling symptom if you insist on controlling the family finances. You may use this tactic so you’re able to move money between your accounts, pay bills late or lie about the amount you’ve paid toward the bills so you can cover up the amount of money you’ve lost gambling. Preventing your significant other from scrutinizing your financial situation may also keep others from realizing that you’re gambling away money that your family can’t afford to spend.

Ignoring Previous Interests

Putting opportunities to gamble before opportunities to interact with friends and family members may be a symptom of gambling addiction. Take note if you miss appointments, turn down invitations, make excuses to be alone or would rather gamble than spend time with loved ones. If you’re a problem gambler, you may also have trouble concentrating or ignore others because you’re thinking about a previous gambling loss or planning your next gambling excursion.

Seek Help for Gambling Addiction

If you recognize that you or someone you love exhibits signs of gambling addiction, consult a mental health professional or physician. The Mayo Clinic notes that it’s particularly important to consult a professional about gambling addiction counseling or an addiction recovery treatment plan if your family repeatedly expresses concern about your compulsive gambling, you’ve tried to stop gambling on your own and failed or you repeatedly borrow or steal money to cover your losses.

What is Addiction? Does Addiction Treatment Work?

addiction treatment

Addiction is Repeated Behavior, Thoughts

Addiction is the repetition of a behavior or thought pattern which takes on a life of its own. The individual is left in a state of addiction when a desire is acted upon that takes hold and then takes over, There is a saying, “first, the man takes a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes the man.” What is the reason, however, that people get addicted to drugs or alcohol or any other behavior that is harmful? Why do people get addicted at all? What kind of addiction help is available? The author describes a viable and virtually free alternative addiction treatment.

Fear is the Primary Reason Behind Addiction

Fear, pain, unhappiness and poverty are a few of the multitude of reasons people are propelled into seeking relief with drugs or alcohol or other depressants or mood changers. Temporary relief and euphoria may be experienced as a result of the consumption of drugs and/or alcohol. For a few fleeting seconds, minutes or hours, the inner experience may be perceived as “healed.” The feeling of pain is not as intense while experiencing the chemically induced euphoria. The body and mind responded to the ingestion of the chemical. The problem is that the result is only temporary. Drugs or alcohol have not solved anything. They have created more problems, not less. When the effect diminishes another problem arises – the desire to repeat the process. . It is a never ending cycle..

Drug Programs and Workshops

But society has known this and has been educating us on this topic for decades. It is reasonable to assume that almost every child, teenager and adult in countries with public education have repeatedly heard about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. In more recent years, the information and warnings have been conveyed to students in programs, workshops, courses, and seminars. It is therefore not the lack of information or knowledge of the dangers of drugs and alcohol that draw people to their abuse, is it?

The Mind Thinks About 25,000 Thoughts Daily

There are reasons that go much deeper. People live in fear and pain and are not taught how to relieve the pain naturally, from within. In short, the educational system does not teach people the proper way to use the mind, or the proper way to think. This may sound ridiculous at first. I am not in any way suggesting or encouraging students to be taught what to think. Of course, everyone has the right to think whatever they want to think. Although educated about the problems of drugs or alcohol, students generally are never taught how to quiet their minds from the incessant thoughts that cause the suffering to begin with. It is estimated that the mind thinks some 25,000 thoughts per day – and most of them are repeated. Of course there are many factors which influence the individual, including the big two, genetics and environment.

Addiction Determined by Genetics and Environment

Individuals obviously have no control over their genes. We are all born with the genes that have been passed down to us. Similarly, a child has no power over where he or she lives. The circumstances are as they are. As genetics and environment are spoken for already, what power or control does a child have over his life? Ah ha. This is where we can empower children from a very young age – as well as adults, at any age. We can teach the students how to use their minds to think properly, and, we can teach students how to quiet their minds from its incessant, repetitive thoughts. We can teach children how to experience inner peace, which is a result of learning how to intentionally quiet the mind. I want to be clear here: I am not advocating the use of any religion, dogma, philosophy or school of thought. I am advocating teaching the student the art of inner peace through the use of simple quieting techniques. I am advocating offering the student the tools of self empowerment by teaching how to create a peaceful and quiet mind.