Text Size

Am I Addicted to Food?

answered 12:53 PM EST, Tue June 12, 2012
anonymous anonymous
What’s the difference between food addiction and binge eating disorder? I have a problem controlling how much I eat but I don’t really understand the difference between these two conditions.

Lita Perna Says...

Lita Perna L. Perna
MA, Family and Community Counseling

Is binge eating an addiction?

Yes and no.

The term “process addiction” is used to create a category of addictions that are different from substance addictions. Process addiction is compulsive behavior which is related to a process, while substance addiction requires the ingestion of a particular substance.

Binge eating is a Process addiction, which is an addiction to an activity or process, such as eating, spending money, or gambling.

Terry Wilson, a psychologist from Rutgers University believes the case for binging being an addiction is ‘weak’ because in true addiction, the abused substance is the focus of urges, cravings and the ‘high’. With binge eating, the binge eater is not focused on the substance of abuse.

But research shows there may be a link between binge eating and addiction. There are brain imaging studies that show a significant overlap between brain circuits aroused by an addict’s craving and those of a binge eater thinking about a binge.

The jury is out. There needs to be more research.

For you, this doesn’t matter because binge eating and addictions require psychological treatment.

Coming here and asking this question is a good first step.

I'm glad you know that you need to get help.

Email It Send this page Print It Print friendly page Subscribe Subscribe to this topic category

Page last updated Jun 13, 2012

Food Addiction: Featured Experts
All Experts

Join Thousands of Readers

who receive our weekly recovery newsletter.

This website is certified by Health On the Net Foundation. Click to verify. This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information:
verify here.

Find Treatment
Browse by region »