Like many addictions, food addiction has no permanent cure, and while it can be treated, treatment can be difficult,
The difficulty and steps to treat food addiction can be different from person to person, depending on how far the addiction has progressed before the patient seeks treatment, according to the FAI.
As opposed to a different kind of addiction – such as smoking – a person can’t choose to quit the addiction altogether, according to the FAI. Because food is needed to live, it can’t be eliminated from a person’s daily routine. Instead, a person with a food addiction has to learn to control their eating behaviors, emotions and decision making about food.
Around 5-6% of the general population has food addiction.
This number goes up to 15% for those with obesity, and 25% for those with extreme obesity (at least in women).
Women are twice as likely to be food addicts as men.
Over 50% of patients with Binge Eating Disorder are food addicts.
Overweight children have many signs of food addiction.
Having addiction-like symptoms, without meeting the full criteria for food addiction, may also be an important driver of overeating and weight gain.
Overall, it seems very clear that food addiction is real and fairly common, especially among those who are overweight or obese.
It is somewhat difficult to cure.
When you are addicted to food you still must constantly face your demons. You have to navigate a healthy relationship with a substance that makes you happy, sad, euphoric, satisfied, embarrassed, excited… every single day – multiple times a day! You can’t just avoid food, you need it to live so finding a way to STOP the addiction and give yourself permission to eat is really hard.