Treatment for Food Addiction

Do You or Someone You Love Need Food addiction Treatment?

Food is a normal part of human living and necessary for survival. For many individuals struggling with a food addiction, food can prove to be a double-edged sword-both pleasurable and tortuous.  Men and women who suffer with the vicious cycle of a food addiction typically use food as a means of generating feelings of comfort, relief, and pleasure.  This dependency on food for coping is associated with a myriad of health issues, psychological issues, and a disruptive social life.

Because a food addiction is essentially a dependence on particular foods for “pleasurable” feelings, it cannot be easily broken. A food addiction can be comparable to a drug addiction or alcohol dependence. All forms of addiction require professional treatment to address the underlying issues connected with the root disorder. Do you believe that you or your loved one is struggling with an addiction to food? Do you tend to gorge in certain types of foods when feeling angry, sad, or overwhelmed? Do you avoid social encounters for the chance to binge on food? If you are suffering with a food addiction, you can find the help you need to overcome this. Enlisting the help and support of a food addiction treatment center can provide you with the tools and resources you need to find freedom and live your life to its fullest potential.

Treatment Plan for Food Addiction

If you have made the decision to seek the help and care you need to overcome a food addiction, you are taking the first step towards recovery. By creating a support system of professionals and loved ones, you can establish a secure foundation for your recovery from a food addiction that will uphold you throughout your journey. Your support system will consist of loved ones, a therapist, a food addiction rehabilitation program, and a support group. These four components will contribute tremendously to your ability to find healing in food addiction recovery process.

  • Friends and Family – Friends and family are important in the healing process and should not be underestimated. When therapy and healing becomes difficult, they can provide the inspiration to continue.
  • Find a therapist – A therapist who specializes in food addiction will be able to create an individualized treatment plan. They will also help find and provide the resources needed for healing.
  • Search for a food addiction treatment facility – A food addiction program will assist with working through any physical or psychological issues that are present. It will also assist in addressing any ongoing co-occurring issues.
  • Join a support group – It is imperative that a support group is joined due to the insight and direction they can provide. In order to prevent the ending of therapy and taking medications, the group can offer much needed help. The support group is essential in maintaining healing.

Treatment Levels for Food Addiction

There are several factors that are considered when determining an appropriate level of care for a food addiction treatment. Symptoms that are individually experienced as well as whether or not any co-occurring disorders are involved, such as drug or alcohol abuse, will be factored into an assessment for level of care. Treatment options will involve varying levels of supervision, therapy, and medications. The following are common levels of care for food addiction treatment, in order of acuity:

  • Residential Treatment Center (RTC) – This kind of facility provides the patient an extended overnight stay for 30 to 90 days. An RTC will focus on the main issue and any other co-occurring concerns that may also be present.
  • Partial Hospitalization Level of Care (PHP) – This level of care is conducted in a residential center or hospital and incorporates group and individual therapies. The program runs five days a week either all morning, all afternoon, or all day.
  • Intensive Outpatient Treatment Level (IOP) – This level of outpatient care provides intense assistance and individual services. It allows the patient to participate either in morning or afternoon sessions while continuing some every day functions.
  • Outpatient Level of Care – The outpatient level of care offers support services to the patient, such as individual, marital, or family therapy. There are fewer individual limits placed on the patient, but personal treatment and group sessions are still applied.
  • Support Groups – Support groups fill a valuable role in overcoming a mood disorder. They provide accountability and understanding as the members have all gone through similar situations.

Types of Pharmacological Therapy

While there are not any medications that are currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the pharmaceutical treatment of food addictions, some medications may be used to manage symptoms commonly experienced, such as anxiety and depression. Anti-anxiety and anti-depressants may be prescribed to help a food addict better cope with symptoms of anxiety and depression. All medications should be managed, prescribed, and overseen by your physician. Be sure to discuss pharmaceutical management of your food addiction with a doctor and food addiction rehab facility.

Types of Therapy for Food Addiction

One of the most impactful and helpful forms of treatment for a food addiction is psychotherapy. A food addiction treatment center will implement numerous forms of psychotherapy to encourage growth, healing, recovery, and to cultivate the development of healthier coping mechanisms. Alternative therapy options may also be used in conjunction with psychotherapy, such as yoga, art, music, dance, and medication. The types of psychotherapies more commonly employed for the treatment of food addiction include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – CBT is a treatment therapy that addresses maladaptive thinking patterns in order to affect the patient’s behavior in a more positive manner. It also helps the patient replace negative coping skills with positive coping skills.
  • Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) – The level of therapy provided by IPT centers upon the interpersonal connections and community functions utilizing brief supportive treatment and also tries to assist the person to better resolve existing situations and troubles. The four main parts acknowledged by IPT are role changes, relationship shortcomings, unresolved grief, and role disputes.
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) – This level of rehab integrates the common behavioral therapy components of IBT and CBT for the regulation of emotions. The introduction of stress management and mindful awareness are key for this therapy
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) – This type of cognitive behavioral treatment uses mindfulness and acceptance approaches mixed in multiple ways with strategies of commitment and behavior-change. The emotional and mental flexibility should be increased.
  • Supportive Programs – These are programs like support groups, group therapy, family therapy, etc. These support groups allow those suffering with food addiction to seek guidance from those that have dealt with food addiction longer.

You no longer need to be trapped within the unending cycle of a food addiction. You can begin your healing process from a food addiction today by simply asking for the help and care you need and deserve. By reaching out for support, you are taking the first step towards successfully recovering from a food addiction. Because of a food addiction, you may feel as though your passions, hopes, and dreams in life have been lost. You can gain this and more back by receiving the help you need from a food addiction treatment center. Consider starting your life anew by accessing the resources available on Addiction Hope to get connected with a food addiction recovery center today.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on April 1, 2014
Published on, Addiction Advice Resource