In Monday’s post, Dan talked about overeating, an eating disorder. Many people who over eat also have an addictive personality. In today’s post, Dan talks about addiction and the addictions he has faced. This is part one of a three-part series.
My name is Dan and…
…I am an alcoholic. I was addicted to drinking.
…I am addicted to gambling.
…I am an over eater. I have an addiction to food.
At one point in my life, I could claim each one of these addictions to my name.
I started drinking at the age of 14. Because of my size, I could put away a lot of alcohol.
Shortly after I got married I made my first trip to Las Vegas, where I came face-to-face with the lure and temptations of quick, easy money. I was hooked. I would bet on football or any sport I could, even while at home.
From the time I was born, I have been addicted to food. Consuming food is necessary for survival. Unfortunately, for some of us food becomes more than a need—it becomes an addiction.
Many of us who have become over eaters have addictive personalities. Some of us become addicted to smoking, some of us to alcohol, others to drugs, gambling and even sex. All of these addictions can become deadly, but all of these started with a choice. We had a choice to try alcohol, drugs, gambling or sex. We did not have a choice to try food—food is essential. We all need to eat. We don’t NEED tobacco, alcohol or drugs. No one needs to gamble. And of course, plenty of people go without sex. But everyone needs to eat. This is a big part of why food addiction is quickly becoming the fastest growing addiction in America. Over 20% of the population in every state in the U.S. is considered obese.
When talking about addictions, everyone claims theirs is the worst! "I'm a drug addict. It's a lot worse than eating too many Twinkies." Yes, if they find you curled up in an alleyway with a couple of boxes of Ho Hos, they're not going to send you off to the Betty Crocker Rehab Center. But food addiction can be just as deadly, if not more deadly since we must eat food to survive. This is one addiction we truly cannot abstain from. Food addiction is an eating disorder. Other eating disorders we are familiar with include anorexia and bulimia. The psychological issues associated with eating disorders are similar to those that accompany addiction. The American Psychological Association estimates that about 5 million Americans suffer from a diagnosable eating disorder. And according to a 2007 analysis of government data, roughly one-third and one-quarter of people with bulimia and binge-eating disorder, respectively, will also have an alcohol or drug problem at some point in their lives. However, when attempting to overcome a food addiction, it is important to understand that it cannot be overcame the same as other addictions. As mentioned early, this is one addiction we truly cannot abstain from.
So what do we do? The key to overcoming a food addiction is uncovering the underlying issue.
To be continued...