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Decoding Food Addiction: A Controversial Condition Struggling for Recognition

Addiction

Decoding Food Addiction: A Controversial Condition Struggling for Recognition

Food addiction, particularly to highly processed foods, impacts 1 in 8 Americans over 50, but struggles for official recognition within the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

The phenomenon of food addiction, predominantly to highly processed foods, affects roughly 1 in 8 Americans over 50, according to recent research. Despite these findings, the condition is not officially recognized as an addiction or disorder in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The current body of research, however, is moving toward a point where it could support a proposal for inclusion in the DSM. The symptoms of food addiction mirror typical signs of addiction, such as intense cravings, inability to limit consumption, withdrawal symptoms, and loss of control over intake. Yet, the specific nature of food addiction and its unique connection to processed foods make its treatment different from other recognized disorders like binge eating. Furthermore, it is believed that the brain chemistry of a person, family history, mental health status, and food insecurity can contribute to the development of food addiction. Over time, excessive consumption of highly processed foods can lead to significant health issues, including obesity, cancer, cardiovascular disease, dementia, and diabetes. While the scientific community remains divided over the recognition of food addiction, the consensus is that the consumption pattern of highly processed foods shows signs of addictive behavior.

Main Takeaways:

  1. Food addiction, particularly towards highly processed foods, affects approximately 1 in 8 Americans over 50.
  2. Despite its prevalence, food addiction is not officially recognized as an addiction or disorder in the DSM.
  3. Symptoms of food addiction mirror those of other addictions, like intense cravings, inability to limit consumption, withdrawal symptoms, and loss of control over intake.
  4. Brain chemistry, family history, mental health status, and food insecurity are believed to contribute to the development of food addiction.
  5. Excessive consumption of highly processed foods can lead to significant health issues like obesity, cancer, cardiovascular disease, dementia, and diabetes.
  6. The scientific community remains divided on the recognition of food addiction, but there is a consensus that the consumption pattern of highly processed foods shows signs of addictive behavior.
  7. The nature of food addiction and its connection to processed foods necessitate unique treatment methods.
  8. While individual efforts to address food addiction are essential, broader policy changes might also be necessary.

Read the full story @ CNN Health

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