Researchers have revealed some strong similarities between food addiction and drug addiction. New research is revealing just how same all addictions are. Whether you are unable to put down the doughnut, or you are dealing with cocaine craving, there are things going through in your brain that are at the basis of your addiction. The results may often be more noticeable and more critical when its chemical substance addiction, such as heroin, meth, or cocaine, but all addictions require seriousness and treatment. Experts will become better able to help people heal, when they will have better understanding of brain and addictions.
Salma Basharat has completed her MSC in Behavioral Sciences from Fatima Jinnah Women University After completing BSC in Botany, Zoology and Psychology. She did her 6 weeks internship in psychiatric ward of Benazir Bhutto hospital. Her areas of interest are mainly relationship counseling and addiction counseling.
Editor: Talal Zubair
Substance addiction is serious matter, and a person who had an addict in their family or friends with an addict who has been addicted to a substance knows exactly how serious and dangerous it can be. There is hurt and anger and hope and mistrust and fear and disappointment, all mingled together while an unknown outcome in a high stake event. When someone is trying to tell you that they are addicted to chocolate, they probably are not being that far off. Studies found that those with food addictions had almost same challenges as those who have substance addictions, these researches explained how the brain responds in the same way whether from the intake of heroin or sugary cake. Other researchers have also found links between the cravings for food and cravings for drugs.
- Effect on the Brain’s Reward System
The influence all of these chemicals and behaviors have on the brain. Drugs and to a smaller extent processed junk foods have the ability to flood the brain with the pleasure inducing neurotransmitter dopamine, affecting the areas that control pleasure and self-control. With time, the function of the brain along with structure of the brain disrupts and dopamine receptors are reduced, making substances, food and drugs less pleasurable but still strongly desired. The parts of the brain revealing activity while watching the images of the ice-cream include the amygdale, the cingulated cortex, and the frontal cortex. In similar researches with drug addicts, these similar areas of the brain indicated activity when participants are shown drugs like cocaine.
- Intense Cravings
When changes occur in the brain, people who are compulsive eaters might crave for salty, sweet or high-calorie processed foods. In studies on animals rats given timely access to a sugary drink shown addictive attitudes like binge eating, when sugar was in front of them. In another study, just by watching milkshake could turn on the same pleasure and reward centers of the brain as drugs among people who are addicted to food.