Surviving Food Addiction and Disordered Eating
An addiction to food is likely one of the most acceptable forms of addiction in our society, but does food addiction always imply the diagnosis of an eating disorder? Honestly, it depends on who you ask. In my experience, my dependencies and addiction with food inevitably morphed into an eating disorder, but that doesn't mean everyone with an eating disorder is a food addict.
It's important to recognize that everyone has their own unique journey with food and that no two addictions or disorders are perfectly alike. For some, psychiatric care is needed, for others, a stay at a rehabilitation center is required, and for some individuals, just a change of habits at home will suffice. However, it's especially important to acknowledge that what worked for you in your recovery might not be the most suitable method for someone else. Let's leave the official diagnosing to the addiction professionals.
My Food Addiction and Dependency
My problems with food didn't develop overnight and they certainly weren't overtly visible to those around me. As I mentioned before, my food addiction would most often affect me when I was abstaining from my more severe addictions, like sex and pornography. Like many recovering addicts, it seems that my brain and my body are determined to use something to cope with life's unfortunate circumstances, no matter how random or obscure that vice may be.
The most helpful tool to fight my food addiction and dependency was the use of an antidepressant. Even though I wasn't prescribed this medicine specifically for food addiction, the medicine helped my brain, which, inadvertently, helped curve my desire to binge excessively in emotionally difficult situations.
Please note that I'm not a medical professional, so I am not implying that everyone who overeats or eats to cope should go on an antidepressant. However, if you do feel that this could be a viable path to recovery for you, I highly recommend you find a trusted psychiatrist in your area and seek out support and advice from him or her directly.
My Recent Eating Disorder Diagnosis
Over the last few months, my depression has reached new heights leading to some unusual coping mechanisms. As I stated above, in the past I would be more inclined to binge or "eat my feelings" as some would say. However, as my brain was treated with medication, I went through a few unexpected changes in regards to my issues with food. Instead of turning to food for comfort, I began to find comfort and control in my hunger instead.
Never in my life had I attempted to starve myself to obtain a certain figure or body weight, but something in me shifted in recent months. I still wasn't too concerned with a specific number on the scale or body type, but the "high" I had from not eating somehow felt empowering for me when I was in my most depressed and vulnerable state.
After talking with a few friends with histories of eating disorders, I quickly learned that disordered eating can come in many forms, and despite popular belief, not everyone starves themselves to get skinny. In fact, a lot of the women I spoke with stated that the mental and physical fixation on control was a huge component of their unhealthy eating patterns. I didn't stop there though. I wanted to know more, so I turned to the professionals.
In my most recent psychiatry appointment, I asked plenty of questions regarding controlled eating habits, binging, starving, and just about everything else. It was confirmed that I was definitely participating in disordered eating behaviors due to emotional distress and the doctor was incredibly helpful in assisting me with my diagnosis and recovery options.
Food Addiction and Eating Disorders
My personal battles with food addiction and eating disorders are unique, so it's easy to feel like I'm completely alone in this difficult situation. However, I think the smartest choice I've made in this process is trusting a medical professional to help and support me on this journey.
These specific disorders, just like any other addiction out there, deserve our utmost care, respect, and concern. Recovery is never easy, so always ask for help, even if it's just from a trusted friend.
Your life is too important to try to recover from food addiction completely alone.
Richardson, A. (2020, February 20). Surviving Food Addiction and Disordered Eating, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, July 7 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/debunkingaddiction/2020/2/surviving-food-addiction-and-disordered-eating