Researchers at the Bookhaven National Laboratory in the US believe that overeating is a kind of addiction.
In a recently conducted experiment, they found that drug addicts and the chronically obese share something: the lack of receptors for dopamine. Just like drugs, eating led to the production of dopamine in people who were obese. Dopamine is the feel-good hormone and it is responsible for evoking feels of pleasure.
In obese people, the normal activity of dopamine receptors is subdued. Therefore, they depend on food and eating to evoke the feelings that others may experience when they watch a beautiful sunset.
This explains why some people are hopelessly addicted to food to the extent that they will plan their overeating sessions with unbelievable precision and execute their eating plans stealthily and secretively.
In most cases, victims too agree with this finding that overeating is indeed an addiction. When it is time for a binge, they experience acute physical symptoms that almost make it impossible for them to resist the temptation to gorge. Many of them agree to feelings and thoughts similar to: 'I can't stop', 'No one can stop me', 'I won't let any one trick me into stopping' and so on. They are unable to kick the habit even when they know that serious health conditions may arise from overeating.
The beginning of overeating as an addiction can be traced to emotional issues that have their roots in the past. The fact is, once food is identified as a way to cope with certain emotional problems, individuals will go to any lengths to fight overwhelming emotions with food. Often, the resistance to consider overeating as an addiction is itself an indicator of how deeply embedded the addiction is.
However, the awareness of the addiction is in itself the quickest way of overcoming overeating. When patients realize that they are turning to food as a temporary relief from problems, then, they are motivated to act. They can then begin the process of de-addiction from overeating.
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