What Is Food Addiction?

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Hi, this is Dr. Judi Hollis. Thanks for asking the question of, what is food addiction? Actually even though I started the nation's first eating disorder unit, I do not see something that I call an addiction to food. I don't really like the use of that term, although it's quite popular in today's parlance.

We do have to eat. We are addicted and obsessed with over consuming the foods that we need and sometimes for certain foods, but I don't want to call it a food addiction, I think it's more clear to call it a food obsession because those of us who are over-eaters including myself, use food the same way the other addicts use their substance.

We use it to cope with feelings, we use it to make it through the day emotionally and we keep using it even when it's turned on us, even when its negative effects are worse than the positive outcomes we get from it, we stop getting comfort from it, we start seeing it and feeling it more as a punishment and we keep going.

That would probably be the best definition of food addiction, but again I don't think the term is really accurate.