Food addiction

Addicted to food

Addictions to food are more common among women than men and the term used for addiction to food or over eating is bulimia, which is known for its cycles of binge eating then purging by vomiting. Very often someone suffering from this addiction will revert to strict dieting in an attempt to curb their addiction but often fail and turn back to bingeing again going round in a constant circle.

A person with bulimia will have on average 14 episodes of binge eating every week and this has serious consequences on a person’s health both physically and mentally. Anorexia is another form of eating disorder in which a person believes they are over weight and sees themselves this way, starving themselves even though they may be hungry.

The person suffering from anorexia will also binge and purge trying to rid themselves of the weight they think they put on, this will continue however much weight they lose until they are painfully thin and ill.

Some addictions to food or eating disorders are

  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Selective eating
  • Compulsive eating
  • Restrictive eating

How do you know if you have an addiction to eating?

People suffering from eating addictions will have a severely distorted image of what they look like, distortion of the body is often associated with anorexia nervosa but the person suffering from bulimia will also have the fear that they are grossly overweight and see themselves this way.


The person suffering from bulimia will eat vast quantities of food in a very short period of time, the actual amount they eat could be as much as three or four times what a normal person would consume over the same period. The bulimic will then make themselves vomit to purge their body of the food or take laxatives; it is a disease that is thought to affect one out of every hundred woman sometimes during their life.


Anorexia is more common in teenage girls but can affect both men and women, it usually begins with dieting and the person suffering from anorexia may still feel hungry and eat but then turn to purging by way of induced vomiting or taking laxatives.

Anorexics will continue until they are well below the weight recommended for their age, sex and height. Common signs that someone may be anorexic are an excessive amount of weight loss, under eating, a terrible fear of being fat and the absence of monthly periods.

Getting help for the addiction

As with any addiction admitting there is a problem is the first step towards recovery from the addiction, if you are worried that someone you know may have an addiction to food then the first step you can take is seeking advice from your Doctor.

The addiction may be treatable by your Doctor alone or he/she may recommend specialised centres for treatment, depending on the amount of weight lost hospitalization may be needed for treatment to be successfully and counselling will help the person realise why the addiction happened in the first place and how to stop it happening again in the future.

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