You would never be pulled over for eating while driving, or being in possession of a large amount junk food, so there are no external consequences for you to deal with if you are a food addict. No one will stop you from overeating; only you have the power to stop yourself.
Substance addiction begins as a learning process for the brain. When someone ingests something that enables them to experience a rewarding effect, it activates specific circuits in the brain. Once they awaken this feeling, the behavior tends to be repeated, ’cause hey, if it makes you feel good, of course you’ll want to do it again. russian grocery store
However, the rewarding feeling alone does not account for why some people develop addictions. We have to bring in the withdraw ingredient. People who abuse drugs and then stop will experiences severe withdrawal systems.
Even heavy coffee drinkers will recognize severe headaches when they stop drinking coffee. But once people get over the withdrawal, they should no longer be addicted, right? It’s much more complicated than that.
Why do we see recovering addicts, who have been sober for years fall off the wagon, over and over again? It’s a combination of psychological, neurobiological and of course social factors, that motivates the user to continue to keep using the substance.
There are specific circuits in the brain that become activated when we are in ‘survival’ situations, which usually involve conditions with food and water, mating and avoiding danger. But psychoactive drugs synthetically trigger these same circuits and trick the brain into responding as if we biologically need the drug in order to survive.
When we start overeating, the brain quickly ‘learns’ the relationship between the food, and the sensation you get from eating the food. Eventually it causes a strong desire and craving for it.
Have you ever said to yourself “I’m dying for piece of cheesecake”…? And then think of how you feel after you’ve taken that first bite…mmmm, like a sense of relief. Our brains actually force us to think that we need the food, or we won’t be able to survive, and we can’t tell the difference anymore. Now there’s a little food for thought.
There was a study done in 2009 that used brain imaging techniques, in order to prove that people who are obese not only experienced similar behaviors but also developed the same brain reactions that drug addicts experience.
They study observed the PET scans of obese and normal weight individuals, looking specifically for dopamine receptors and counting them.Dopamine remember, is the chemical in our brains that sends us that ‘feel good, ahh’ feeling.
The result concluded that obese people had fewer dopamine receptors, and worse, the more obese the individual was the fewer receptors they had. The study further came to the conclusion that the brains of obese people looked almost identical to drug addicts, both having fewer dopamine receptors than normal subjects.