Scientist argues that food has potential to be just as addictive as drugs. Researchers at National Institute on Drug Abuse underline that controversial idea of food addiction shouldn’t be dismissed so simply. Some researchers and health professionals refuse food as a potential source of addiction because not everybody who picks up a chocolate bar or a box of donuts turn out to be addicted.
Muhib-e-Zahra is a Clinical Psychologist. She discovered her interest in Clinical Psychology while studying at Government College University, Lahore. She thought that it would be more challenging for her intellectual drive. Later, she became a student of the ADCP (Advance Diploma in Clinical Psychology) in University of the Punjab. She completed her ADCP and then she got the opportunity to practice all that she had learnt as a Clinical Psychologist in Willing Ways.
Editor: Shumaila Batool
Americans evidently have difficulty controlling their food intake. However, with two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese. The number of drug users who become addicted is truly much less than food addicts. This makes food even more difficult for people.
There are also similarities in how food and drugs affect the self-control and pleasure areas of the brain. Obesity and drug addiction both affect a decrease in the number of dopamine D2 receptors. This makes people more prone to give into temptation, and also leads to a decreased enjoyment of the drugs or food over time. A collection of studies highlights the similarities between food addictions and drug addictions:
Cravings are a powerful feeling. People frequently mix them with hunger… but the two are not the same thing. Hunger is caused by a variety of complex physiological signs that involve the body’s need for energy and nutrients.
However, people habitually get cravings in spite of having just finished a fulfilling, nutritious meal. This is because cravings are not about satisfying your body’s need for energy, instead it is your brain calling for reward. In other words, your brain compels you towards that dopamine and opioid.
Cravings for junk foods are really very similar to cravings for drugs, cigarettes and other addictive substances. The obsessive nature and thought processes are the same.