Gransnet forums

Is Over Eating An Addiction

(84 Posts)
Serkeen Sun 15-Oct-17 21:07:52

I believe it is.. because when I am upset I CAN NOT stop myself from eating. I have had a terrible few days, were I have not been able to eat sensibly and portion control has gone right out of the window.

I am a very sensible person, always have been but in the past few years I feel that I have obtained a food addiction were I have periods, luckily they do not last long, were I can not stop myself from eating, were I completely loose control all together

So my question.. is overeating and Addiction do you think?

morethan2 Sun 15-Oct-17 21:12:48

I’m sitting here stuffing myself. Every week I tell myself I’ll stop. I don’t think I’m addicted I just think I have no self control. None what’s so ever. I’m ashamed. Obviously not ashamed enough to stop.

Serkeen Sun 15-Oct-17 21:17:49

no self control can be deemed I believe as an addiction because an alcoholic has no self control which is why he can not stop drinking..am I right ?

cornergran Sun 15-Oct-17 21:18:42

Sometimes it's a coping strategy and so seen and felt as helpful. Gets me through a day now and again, if it's more than that then perhaps a good idea to think about the triggers and if necessary talk it through with someone, friend, family or counsellor. Don't build it in your head to be more than it is though. A really useful question to ask yourself. when it begins is 'what do I really want right now'.? It can help find other ways to cope. Please don't worry too much, seek help if it's really bothering you.

Serkeen Sun 15-Oct-17 21:23:09

I do ask myself that question cornergran but I can not have what I do want so I eat, I eat because I feel that if I don't I wont be able to get through the pain/in happiness barrier, eating is the only thing that gets me through and it does feel like a drug

M0nica Sun 15-Oct-17 22:05:18

I would worry more about someone with a perfect diet who never deviated from it than someone who has bouts of overeating when stressed.

I read an interesting article by a psychiatrist recently who did not believe in addiction as a mental illness but more as a dysfunctional way of coping with the difficulties in the addict's lives. Over eaters often admit that their overeating is closely related to how they feel, when life is good they eat sensibly, when life is difficult they eat to fill the void in their lives.

I find that I tend to feel permanently hungry when I am tired, or overstretched and running fast in order to go slowly backwards or, as last week, when there was a big change in the weather when the pretence that was summer this year suddenly changed gear and went full throttle for autumn with a sudden drop in temperature.

I try to deal with it by facing up to the problem and simply planning to eat more at meal times: bigger portions, extra items etc in order to stop mindless nibbling. It usually works. At the end of a short period like that I may have put on a couple of pounds but I try and lose them as soon as possible. Sometimes small weight gains just disappear over a few weeks

MawBroon Sun 15-Oct-17 22:20:42

I think it seriously undermines the true nature of addiction when the term is applied to something like eating (or in the case of Harvey Weinstein) sex.
There is a rare and very serious genetic disorder where a person has no control over their appestat called Prader-Willi Syndrome. There is no cure, and it often leads to Type2 diabetes, heart problems and other physical and psychological problems but anybody unfortunate enough to have a child with this condition would regard what you describe serkeen as something entirely under your control.
If you overeat -that is called gluttony not addiction.

cornergran Sun 15-Oct-17 22:21:40

You sound worried serkeen if so it would be sensible to get professional help. I wonder, have you thought of talking with a counsellor? Please be kind to yourself. I'm sorry there is so much pain in your life and hope you can get some help. Sending hugs and a wish for an easier time very soon.

Deedaa Sun 15-Oct-17 22:37:51

But alcohol, nicotine and drug addiction all start as something the addict can control, and the same is true of food. In fact food is the most difficult addiction because, while you can live without cigarettes or drugs, you can't live without food so giving up isn't an option and you are left struggling with the constant temptation.

Prader - Willi syndrome is not an addiction it is a genetic disorder.

MawBroon Sun 15-Oct-17 22:53:42

Nobody said it was an addiction if you reread my post more carefully.

SueDonim Sun 15-Oct-17 23:06:00

One of my children is a student medic and they're taught that over-eating & gambling etc are not true addictions because they do not have physical characteristics.

I wonder nowadays if part of the problem with food is its sheer availability. It's hard to avoid seeing it, either in real life or in the media. Maybe when we weren't constantly bombarded with food images, we didn't think of it so often.

MawBroon Sun 15-Oct-17 23:36:52

Good distinction suedonim

ninathenana Sun 15-Oct-17 23:47:41

A relative of H's sadly died in his 20s due to Prada Willi.

When I'm upset or down I go right off food rather than over eat. Even when things are fine I don't have the appetite I used too.

tiredoldwoman Mon 16-Oct-17 05:11:54

I think it can be somewhere between a habit; a 'naughtiness'; a comfort ; self destruction - it goes round and round .

Christinefrance Mon 16-Oct-17 08:38:11

I agree withMOnica it's one of the ways we find of dealing with difficulties in our lives. Not an addiction in the true sense. I tend to reward myself with food especially chocolate, its something I try to curb but fruit and salad do not have the same appeal. I must find treats other than food, maybe this is something to think about Serkeen

Iam64 Mon 16-Oct-17 08:55:53

I'm another who puts over eating in the category of things that we have control over, that we use either as a reward of as a distraction from worries. Cigarette smoking is a classic example, it's enjoyable or none of us would ever do it. Yes, I'm a reformed non smoker and so relieved I stopped (not for the first but I do hope for the last time)

Most of us enjoy alcohol regularly and in moderation. I suspect we all know functioning alcoholics who have gradually built up a ridiculous tolerance to alcohol and now reached the stage where large amounts have become a daily necessity. As with over eating, I suspect those people realise they're drinking far too much and would benefit from taking some control over their lives.
Apologies for sounding preachy but over indulgence is fun but our own responsibility.

Bambam Mon 16-Oct-17 09:20:28

Hi Sekeen, if it's lots of sweet and sugary foods you are overeating. I believe that sugar can be addictive, in as much as you can get cravings for it.
Sugary food is also usually the "go to" food with emotional overeating.
I now Try to have just the occasional treat as if I have a packet of biscuits in the house I would eat the lot.

Grannyknot Mon 16-Oct-17 09:26:47

SueDonim that's interesting/amazing really that student medics are taught that eating and gambling disorders are not true addictions - I work part time for a charity that does addiction training and we are frequently asked (including by GPs) for a training session on behavioural addictions such as e.g. gambling.

I would argue that they definitely have physical symptoms (albeit indirectly), I have a SIL who is addicted to gambling and I have seen her being physically ill after heavy losses.

Grannyknot Mon 16-Oct-17 09:29:46

I meant to ask re the OP (genuine question) - how can anyone carry on eating when they are full? There's little worse than being uncomfortable because you are feeling stuffed. So that would be my "brake".

Jane10 Mon 16-Oct-17 09:33:22

If it's not in the house you can't eat it! I always found it easier to eat less when I was working as any treats were a mile walk away so all I had was my packed lunch.
Now I've retired I try not to stock up on unhealthy food - and we all know what that is. Currently I'm back on the 16:8 system. My stomach is rumbling but I know I can keep it feeling OK with a cup of mint tea. After a few days it just becomes a habit. DH has lost a ridiculous amount of of weight on it.
Good luck Serkeen your control lies in your shopping basket!

Nonnie Mon 16-Oct-17 10:13:01

I also think it is not an addiction. If we have an addiction we can think of ourselves as ill and therefore not to blame.

I speak as someone who has a condition which means that if I eat a normal diet I put on weight so I do know how hard it is. I am a little overweight but not obese. Yes, I am tempted a lot of the time buy I make sure there is nothing 'bad' in the house so I can't eat it. I get nibbly in the evenings to try to eat healthy things like apples.

My discipline, such as it is, is to try to eat very sensibly at home but when we go out to have whatever I like so it really become a treat.

Like so many of us I smoked heavily back in the 60s but gave up once we knew it was harmful. We all did that without the help of patches etc. I think nowadays people need more help because it is available and therefore self control is lacking.

Sparklefizz Mon 16-Oct-17 10:20:06

I read somewhere that "addiction" can be identified by behaviour eg. if someone is prepared to turn out on a winter's night to get some alcohol, chocolate, whatever, because they want it that much, then they are addicted. If they look in the fridge for something they fancy, don't find it so give up, that is not addiction. But we all anaesthetise ourselves to some extent after a bad day or if we are lonely or unhappy, whether that be a glass or two of wine or food. It's all in the degree.

radicalnan Mon 16-Oct-17 10:28:00

Whatever it is I've got it!!!!

I eat for something to do and no amount of other distractions help. I tred hypnosis years ago and t worked really well, so am trying that again.

Carolghill Mon 16-Oct-17 10:38:15

Yes, me too. That is why they call it 'comfort eating'. My daughter in law sadly died 4 years ago (November 11th) and I have put on 2 stone since then ... and this time of year reminds me of her last days and I keep 'rewarding' myself with food... not great

KayR Mon 16-Oct-17 10:43:32

What is the 16:8 system? Sorry, I've never heard of that one!

Join the discussion

To post you need a valid nickname and password. Log in if you are a returning member, or join for free.

If you have forgotten your nickname or your password, you can get a reminder.