Food addiction masks underlying emotions

Food addiction masks underlying emotions

Yuma, Arizona August 19, 2011 - This week, the American Society of Addiction Medicine released its new definition of addiction.  Therapist Troy Love with Courageous Journeys in Yuma says it gives insight into what the ASAM calls a chronic disease.

"What they determined is that it doesn't matter if it's food or drugs or sex or whatever it happens to be, it's a brain disorder. So when we talk about food addictions, what's really happening is that there are malfunctioning parts of the brain that make it almost impossible to say no to certain foods."

Love says food addictions are just as destructive as drug addictions.

"Receptor sites in your brain that are activated when you're doing crack or you're smoking meth get activated when you are eating food, especially when you're using food as an emotional component," says Love.  "So dopamine, which is one of the chemicals they make you feel really good, large amounts of dopamine get released when you're using food to control how you feel."

Courageous Journey's Food and Feelings Outpatient Program helps participants address the underlying triggers of their food addictions.

"The program is designed to help participants connect with their emotional side to be able to start to identify what are they feeling, what are they feeling right now, and then be willing to allow themselves to experience feelings like anger and fear and sadness without trying to numb it," says Love.  "And being able to work through this feelings."

Love says acknowledging negative emotions instead of burying them in food addictions can be a difficult process.

"In order to heal, you've got to own it," says Love.  "And say, 'You know, I'm really afraid.  I'm really afraid that I'm going to lose my job.'  'I'm really afraid...I don't know what I'm going to do to make sure I have food on the table for my kids.'  And be able to find a place to talk about that and get some support."

Having the courage to get help can lead to recovery and a new lease on life.

"Just that step of saying I'm willing to get help is going to create the beginning of a path of healing that you would never experience if you didn't have that courage," says Love.

The Food and Feelings Recovery Program begins September 6.  For more information, contact Troy Love LCSW at 928-276-9535.

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