Addictions-Introduction and Food Addiction

Addictions are a common issue we deal with here at Imagine Hope. We see everything ranging from alcohol, drugs, and sex, to work, facebook, and food.  Society is getting deeper looks into addictions as well, through T.V. shows like "Hoarders" and "Intervention" becoming more popular. So what makes something an addiction? One definition states that an addiction is something which has a negative impact on your social functioning, relationship functioning, and/or career functioning as a result of your abuse of a substance or an activity. An addiction can be anything that a person invests their time, energy, and emotion into with the purpose of escaping pain and discomfort, coping in a dysfunctional way, and/ or to avoid feelings. Addictions come in many forms. Almost anything can become an addiction- even religion! Because this is such a significant issue, Imagine Hope will be dedicating this week to blog topics of addictions we commonly see in our practices. Stay tuned for information on addictions ranging from sex, work, gambling, and relationships!

Food Addiction

Food addiction is a common issue these days. It is one of the most “acceptable” addictions in our society. The hardest part is that we have to eat food to live. Unlike an alcohol or drug addiction, food is a necessity in life, so you can't completely cut it out of your life. Therefore, the relapse rate is high. Here are a few characteristics that makes someone a food addict:

You notice you are eating when you aren’t hungry

You turn to food when you are experiencing strong emotions like sad, lonely, boredom, or even celebrating a happy thing. For example: “It’s been a bad day- let’s go get some ice cream” or“Let’s celebrate a good day and go out to eat”.

You hide evidence of what you have eaten, lie, or keep secrets about your food intake

You have “eater’s remorse” after eating

You find yourself planning or obsessing about what you are going to eat next

You are a “yo-yo” dieter and can never seem to really loose weight or keep it off

There are many other symptoms of food addiction, but if you find yourself relating to any of the above symptoms- you could have one.  The key to recovery is working on the underlying psychological issues of the addiction. Figuring out reasons “why” you eat is vital. If those go untreated, you will keep the cycle going and food can control your life. When treating food addiction, I help people start a “new relationship” with food. Changing your relationship with it can have a huge impact on how you think about it. You should eat to live- not live to eat. Recovery from food addiction is a hard long road but as you start to love and value yourself and your body, it gets easier. Reach out for help for your food addiction today- it’s time to be free of the power food has over your life!

Stay tuned for more addiction info this week!

Written by guest blogger Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Renewed Horizon Counseling. Teri does virtual therapy for residents of Indiana and Florida using videoconferencing technology. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling and adolescent counseling. You can find Teri at