Food as Addiction
Recent research suggests that common brain mechanisms are responsible for food and drug cravings.1 This gives TEAP Specialists and Center Mental Health Consultants a unique opportunity to use their knowledge and expertise about addiction to help students develop healthy habits related to nutrition. Some recommendations are as follows:
- Include food addiction as part of the current psycho-educational groups addressing substance addiction.
- Include food addiction as part of the relapse prevention groups and assist students in developing healthy choices and habits as it relates to substances and eating.
- Be aware of students who trade addictions. Sometimes after giving up smoking or drugs, people start to overeat.
- Collaborate with recreation staff to create exercise plans for students that are addicted to substances and have weight concerns. In addition to weight control, physical activity helps reduce anxiety and depression.
To learn about the similarities and differences in food and drug dependency, read Marcia Levin Pelchat's article "Food Addiction in Humans" (http://jn.nutrition.org/cgi/reprint/139/3/620).
1 Levin Pelchat, M. (2009). Food addiction in humans. The Journal of Nutrition. 139, (620-622).
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