There are many types of addiction, and most people are familiar with substance addictions such as alcoholism or drug addiction. However, the term addiction can be applied to any pattern of behaviour that negatively impacts a person’s life. This means that individuals can be affected by illnesses such as gambling addiction, shopping addiction, and even food addiction.

It is important to stress the real meaning of the word addiction as it tends to be used in the wrong way today. Many people will say they are addicted to things that they simply like doing a lot. For example, someone who likes eating chocolate might describe themselves as being addicted to chocolate when, in fact, he or she can still exert some measure of control over their chocolate consumption and eating chocolate has not caused harmful consequences.

What is a Food Addiction?

A food addiction can also be referred to as an eating disorder. While the term ‘food addiction’ might make one automatically think about being addicted to eating food, it can also refer to those who are addicted to restricting their food.

There are various types of food addiction, including binge eating disorder, anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. All are classed as mental health disorders, and all can have a devastating impact on those affected as well as on the lives of those closest to them.

Fighting Food Addiction

It can be extremely hard to overcome a food addiction, especially one where food restriction is a key characteristic. Those affected become so obsessed with keeping their calorie count as low as possible that they find it impossible to start eating more food, even when their weight is dangerously low.

The fact that it is possible for a food addiction to leave a person fighting for life means that all too often, the conclusion is a tragic one. It is, therefore, nice to hear when someone does manage to come out the other side and can inspire others to do the same.

Emma Stokes managed to beat her eating disorder when her boyfriend presented her with a list of reasons she should fight. It was this list of reasons, which included a marriage proposal, that gave Emma the motivation to change and overcome the food addiction that was killing her.

Powerful Motivation

In his list, Chris Weir said that he wanted him and Emma to start a family and that he wanted her to ‘live a life and not just exist’. However, it was the proposal of marriage that Emma said gave her the desire to want to get better.

They have now exchanged their vows, and Emma said, “I have never felt so happy in my whole life.”

She added that she would never forget her special day, but in the run-up, she and her therapist had been working on how she would feel as this is one day where all eyes would be on the bride. She said, “I know many people say that the day goes by in a blur, but I had been working on my feelings and nerves around the wedding with my therapist because it is obviously a day where everyone is going to be commenting on how you look, which is very scary and daunting for me, but we talked about how filling your head with these worries and stresses will take up space that can be filled with happy memories and emotions.”

She said that on the day, she ‘took a step back’ on a number of occasions in order to enjoy the moment and to take in the fact that everyone was having fun. She went on to say that she is glad she did this because it will allow her to look back on the special day without feeling stressed or worried.

Treatment for an Eating Disorder

It can take a lot of help and support to beat a food addiction such as anorexia. Learning how to eat a healthy amount of food again can be a constant struggle for those who have spent a long time obsessing about their calorie intake.

It takes an experienced counsellor or therapist to work in close collaboration with those who have an eating disorder as it is a complex illness. It is different to other addictions because it is not possible to detox or abstain from eating. Unlike an alcohol addiction, for example, those who suffer from a food addiction cannot stop eating. They have to learn how to change their unhealthy attitude towards food instead.

Various therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy and counselling can help when it comes to treating a person with a food addiction. It is often a long process to get well again, but recovery is possible.

Nonetheless, those affected by food addiction will need to stay alert to the dangers going forward, just to prevent themselves falling into the cycle of addiction again.

Source: Chester couple tie the knot after moving anorexia battle proposal (the Chester Chronicle)