Getting Help for Food Addiction
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Man with food addiction Food addiction is a notoriously under-reported problem. People often struggle for years without receiving the treatment they need. Many people try numerous diets and exercise programs before they realize that they have a serious problem.

Researchers believe that merely treating the symptoms of food addiction, such as obesity, provides little long-term benefit because it doesn’t treat the underlying causes.4

This article will help you understand food addiction and help you find treatment programs. It will address the following topics:

Understanding Food Addiction

Many highly processed foods trigger the reward centers in the brain. People begin eating these foods because they release endorphins and “feel good” neurotransmitters, which can temporarily relieve emotional distress.1

However, consuming these foods repeatedly can cause some people to become physically and psychologically addicted to the pleasure-inducing chemical effects. As with other addictions, people need to eat larger amounts of food to produce the same pleasurable effect. People soon find themselves eating much more than they intended to avoid cravings and withdrawal symptoms.1

The classic symptom of addiction is a person continuing a certain behavior despite major negative consequences. With a food addiction, a person is unable to stop eating despite consequences such as weight gain and its associated health risks.

Food Addiction Symptoms

The Yale Food Addiction Scale measures the presence and severity of food addiction. It looks at whether a person is continuing to binge on certain foods despite many attempts to stop or slow down, whether their eating behaviors are interfering with their lives, and the extent to which they experience withdrawal when they abstain from certain foods.3

Here are a few of the major food addiction symptoms drawn from the diagnostic criteria:

You’re researching how to get help for food addiction, so you’ve already taken the first step toward recovery. Let us help you take the next one. Learn more about your eating habits. Start an Eating Disorder Quiz now.

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Where to Get Help for Food Addiction

Patients getting help for food addiction If you or a loved one is suffering silently, it’s time to find food addiction help that gets at the root of the problem. Depending on your provider, insurance may cover eating disorder treatment. What follows is an overview of the many food addiction treatment options available.

Deciding Between Food Addiction Treatment Options

The type of food addiction help you choose will depend on you or your loved one’s specific circumstances. Some things to consider before choosing a program include:

Do you have questions about cost or insurance? Call one of our rehab support advisors anytime at .

How to Talk to Someone with Food Addiction

If your friend or family member is struggling with food addiction, you can help. Express your concerns and listen. Do not criticize or threaten the person.

Here are a few tips for talking to someone with food addiction:

Helping Someone with Food Addiction

A friend helping someone with food addiction Everyone loves the taste of delicious food. And everyone has overindulged from time to time. So it can be hard to understand what makes a person with food addiction different from other people. If you want to help someone with food addiction, the first thing you should do is learn as much as you can about it.
Here are a few other things you can do to support a friend or loved one.

Find Food Addiction Treatment for a Friend or Family Member

Food addiction can be a life-threatening disease. Don’t wait until your friend or family member is diagnosed with a serious health problem. Help is available.

Our recovery support advisors are ready for your call. Call to speak with an advisor about your options.

Read next: Food Addiction Symptoms, Causes, and Effects


[1]. Food Addiction Research Education. What is food addiction?

[2]. Olsen, C. M. (2011). Natural rewards, neuroplasticity, and non-drug addictions. Neuropharmacology, 61(7), 1109–1122.

[3]. Gearhardt, A., Corbin, W. & Brownell, K. (2012). Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS). Measurement Instrument Database for the Social Sciences.

[4]. Obesity and Food Addiction Summit. Food addiction.

[5]. National Eating Disorders Association. (2015). Parent toolkit version 3.0.

[6]. National Eating Disorders Association. Treatment settings and levels of care.

[7]. National Eating Disorders Association. What Should I Say?