Posts from 2017-11

More on Eating Disorders.


Food addicts often eat beyond the point at which they feel they are full, sometime to the point that they know that it will make them sick. Why do they do this when their body tells them they have had enough? While hunger is the physical feeling that most people associate with eating, for the food addict, hunger is really only a secondary motivation. Thus, for the food addict, there is a difference between the need for nourishment and the psychological cravings to eat.


The warning sign of this is that the food addict eats until they are stuffed, but then continues to eat more.


Another warning sign is sneaking food. Like the alcoholic or drug addict who keeps a secret “stash” of the drug to be prepared for their need for it in the future. Food addicts hide food for several reasons: first, they want to be sure they have enough food on hand to satisfy their needs. Second, they are aware that their overeating my draw attention and make other people conscious of their addictive behavior. Third, while food is ordinarily eaten in the kitchen, food addicts do not confine their eating activities to the kitchen, so they want to have food available elsewhere. However, since food looks out of place in other rooms in the house beyond the kitchen, they hide it so that it does not draw attention to itself—and to the food addict who has hidden it.


Therefore, while hiding food is one warning sign of food addiction, another is where you eat: Do you eat in the car, in bed, while watching television, or in other rooms in the house while doing other things? As indicated, food is ordinarily consumed in the kitchen, regularly eating in other locations may indicate a food addictive problem. Further, eating in a multiplicity of locations also indicates some form of constant eating. Meals usually take place at given intervals during the day, not constantly throughout the day.


Another warning sign is focused on what is done with what is left after eating varying forms of food—packaging and containers. Like the alcoholic who carefully disposes of bottles to evade other people discovering his or her drinking, the food addict is careful in disposing of candy bar wrappings, snack packaging, and other tell-tale evidence that food has been consumed. If you feel it necessary to hide the evidence of your eating from other people, you are demonstrating a symptom of a food addict.


If you see yourself in this general picture of the food addict, don't despair. Psychological counseling can provide you with coping mechanisms and positive behavioral change: The treatment modalities including cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, crisis intervention therapy often combined with medication treatment and inpatient hospitalization for acute interventions specifically in cases where the patients are not treatment compliant in psychotherapy or lacking family support and are experiencing severe symptoms and/or adverse health issues.



Eating Disorders: 1

Do you have an eating disorder?

Eating disorders are adverse relationships with food and eating that go beyond eating to survive or eating to enjoy the food. Eating disorders add a dimension to food and eating that is psychologically disturbing and physically unhealthy.

What are the warning signs to look for in eating disorders?

Overeating” is one obvious sign. How many times do you fill your plate up? How many cheeseburgers or French fries do you get at the fast food outlet? Do you often eat between meals? Is every day just one long continuous meal with interruptions for other activities? Do you think a lot about food when you are not eating? Do you often eat while reading or watching television? Do you eat at established and traditional mealtimes (three per day, breakfast, lunch, and dinner), or do you eat whenever you feel hungry? These are some questions to ask yourself to help you to recognize if you have an eating problem.

Looked at separately, there are a number of warning signs and signals that you may have an eating problem:

As mentioned above, overeating” is a good indicator. Overeating once in a while or at special occasions like Thanksgiving or Christmas is “normal” and nothing to worry about. Overeating at every meal is another matter. When you eat a meal, do you stop at one plate or go on for two? ...or more? When you cook, do you always eat up everything that is left rather then put it into the refrigerator?

Food addicts demonstrate the same addictive behavior as drug addicts. One heavy dose may be followed by the need soon for the next. This means that just because the individual ate a big meal not long previously does not mean that they are not ready to begin the next big meal or snack right away. When you open a box of ice cream, or a bag of cookies or potato chips, do you eat it all? Think about it. These are signs that the individual my have an eating disorder.

Like drug addicts or alcoholics, food addicts also make excuses for their habit. They might make a resolution to control their eating in different ways, but before long, they have broken the resolution and are eating in the old pattern again. In addition to these broken resolutions, there may also be the use of “valid excuses” for the overeating: “I was too upset to know what I was doing.” “You know, I wasn't really aware of what I was doing. I was thinking about something else.” “After tonight, things are going to change.” These are typical excuses used by food addicts. So, the meaning of these excuses is to go on doing what you want to do right now because you have a good reason for it, and things will be different tomorrow.

Addicts often set themselves up to fail. While saying that they will stop eating snacks between meals, when they go to the store, they will, nevertheless, buy snacks (just to have them on hand).” When they cook, instead of cooking planning only for the needed portions, they will cook much more.. Later, eating the leftovers, the individual thinks, “Oh, there really wasn't any more room in the refrigerator, so I decided just to eat it.” These are forms of addictive behavior that one should be aware of.

Often times Eating Disorders, as many other Addictions, can be accompanied by one or more Personality Disorders particularly Borderline Personality Disorder and Mood Disorders such as depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder.

If you see yourself in this general picture of the food addict, don't despair. Psychological counseling can provide you with coping mechanisms and positive behavioral change: The treatment modalities including cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, crisis intervention therapy often combined with medication treatment and inpatient hospitalization for acute interventions specifically in cases where the patients are not treatment compliant in psychotherapy or lacking family support and are experiencing severe symptoms and/or adverse health issues.

Next:  More on Eating disorders.




Love Addiction, Part 2


America’s “instant gratification” culture is a causative factor:

Public awareness of the problem of love addiction has been increasing in recent years. In part, this has been the result of a number of celebrities that have “come out of the closet” about their problems with love addiction. Margaret Cho has stated that her obsessive relations with men are an addiction. On Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew, supermodel Amber Smith admitted to being a love addict. In fact, she has now become a lecturer on love addictions.



While women seem particularly vulnerable to this problem, it also affects men. A number of men have been identified as love addicts as an element of their sexual misbehavior, such as Anthony Wiener, Harvey Weinstein, and others. To some degree, their serial sexual misadventures may be related to their love addiction but lack of success in establishing lasting, meaningful relationship with another person. For example, despite the fact that he was married, Anthony Wiener admitted that he sexted other women because he wanted to feel desired by them. Tiger Woods, for example, did not see himself as love addicted when he had his serial affairs with one-night stands and prostitutes. It can be judged that these men were really looking for love, even if it was only short-term and transitory.



For example, the case of “George,” both successful in business and highly educated, who admitted to being addicted to what he called the emotional effects of being “in love,” the pounding of the heart, the anticipation of seeing the loved one, and the exhilaration. However, in a relatively short period of time, usually about 6 to 9 months, the excitement would wear off, and he lost all interest in continuing the affairs. In “dumping” his ex-loved ones, he created emotional problems both for himself and for the other parties in the affairs. In time, he became aware that this was a repeating pattern. He recognized that the brief periods of pleasure and exhilaration he was getting from the relationships were not authentic emotions, but merely stages in a cycle of fantasies.


After consulting with a psychologist, he was led to recognize that the pattern of his love addiction relationships grew out of a deep sense of loneliness within him that could not be permanently filled by another person in a transitory relationship. A deeply-ingrained sense of social isolation is often at the heart of the love addictive behavior. Those feelings, in turn, are accentuated and elevated by images of couples enjoying themselves and glamorized in television commercials. These images demonstrate to the person with the deep-seated feelings of isolation and loneliness that they are “different,” and, therefore, they “create” love affairs in order to satisfy the longing inside of themselves. The problem is that the relationships are not based on meaningful interests and characteristics, so they don't last very long. After the break up, which is a problem not only because the other personal may be missed, but, more significantly, because it emphasizes the fact that the love addict is alone again, deepens their feelings of loneliness. To “fix” the problem of their depressed personal feelings, and to become “normal” again, they enter into another relationship just to be in a relationship, not for other more significant reasons, and the cycle begins all over again.


This love addicted behavior is one factor that drives many people to the social networking websites in the hope of finding a lasting relationship there, but these relationships, also, are often transitory, generating more motivations for the vain search for the next relationship to fill the void.



Texting and email may also be may also be used to fill the void between relationships. Whenever an email or text from a potential love interest comes through, that stimulates an injection of adrenaline and dopamine into the brain, producing pleasurable sensations. This is a form of instant gratification which has become a critical element of modern-day life. The postponement of love relationship until the “right person” is found creates tension within the individual;, and the tension needs a release, and the release is the start of a new relationship. The need for instant gratification overrides logic and reason that indicates that, under the right circumstances, time will produce the desired results. But, that requires patience, so it is sacrificed by the need for immediate results. The love addiction substitutes the intensity of emotional extremes for the values of real intimacy between the members of a relationship. Thus, the love addict needs the relationship, but not the partner who is just a tool to create the illusion of a meaningful relationship. These are mechanical ways of relating to other people, not the creation of authentic, reality-based relationships.



Love addiction can be successfully treated by various forms of psychological therapy: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Psychodynamic therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Gestalt Therapy and Psychoanalysis.



Next: Part 3, Positively dealing with problems of love addiction.




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