Originally Posted by Calianna
I disturbs me that they referred to it as a rehab facility, because it sounds like they consider overeating to be purely a food addiction, which means they were trying to treat it as if its just like a drug addiction or alcoholism. It's not the same.
Then again, I can see how it is the same. The substance itself used to be blamed for addiction: it's an "addicting substance."
But a few decades of open-minded research has changed that view. For one thing, we can become like addicts when it comes to our own body chemicals. Obsessive shopping and gaming and gambling can flip the dopamine switch where our brain gets a burst of good feeling from "accomplishing something."
Adrenaline cravers or the lure of comfort foods all create happy chemicals in our brains. When someone leads a properly supported life, without the incessant stress so common from poverty, untreated mental illness, or dysfunctional childhoods or toxic cultures, many of these "irresistible addictive substances" have no power over people.
Recent studies on the hoarders among us point constantly back to people under stress and under-supported who hoard because they don't have the tools to handle loss, for instance. It's a dysfunctional tool but it's all they have in the toolbox.
Many of us have the experience of surgery or injury where we get pain-killing drugs and we put up with them until we heal. Or we are casual drinkers or gamblers or we know people who "don't have a sweet tooth."
All these substances and experiences are the same. What differs is how each person sees it, and what their other choices are. The lecture, now book, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction
by Gabor Maté outlines this exact process.
People addicted to anything are desperate people. Their brains are screaming for relief and they have to fix that. Having gotten over an Eating Disorder, I could conceivably fit that pattern. I've recovered to the point where I have more, and better, options. I haven't binged in decades. I no longer need it.
That's how the latest research indicates addiction works.