Cocaine Addiction Information
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food addictionThe United States has an obesity epidemic. The number of children and adults that are overweight continues to rise, and experts aren’t exactly sure why. There have been many public service campaigns with the purpose of getting Americans to eat the rights foods and to get more active, but so far they don’t seem to be working.

Some scientists are turning to brain chemistry to figure out what is going on. They think that if we can discover why Americans are eating themselves to death, we can maybe flip the switch and save whole generations of our citizens from diabetes, heart disease and early deaths.

Obesity Continues to Spread

Much of the research into our obesity epidemic has been centered around whether or not Americans are exercising enough and whether or not we’re eating the right foods. These are good areas to examine, but there may be another factor to consider. This factor is that food doesn’t just provide nutrition to your body and fuel your activity. It also can trigger reactions in the human brain.

One study at the Tufts University School of Medicine found that rats who were prone to obesity actually had lower levels of dopamine (commonly called the pleasure chemical) in their brains than rats that were resistant to becoming obese. This could mean that the rats that tended to become obese had to eat more to achieve a state of pleasure than the rats that were fit.

Overeating Can Satisfy in the Same Manner as Drug Use

If human brains act the same way, this could mean that some of us are genetically predisposed to have a problem enjoying eating healthy food or eating the right amounts of food. When the dopamine in your brain is too low, you might want to eat a greasy hamburger or a sugary donut because it activates the parts of your brain that will make more. You start to feel that you’re enjoying yourself or having fun, and you continue to overheat and eat unhealthy foods to reinforce that false sense of “happiness.”

These poor eating habits are very similar to the way that drugs work on the human body and mind. Most drugs make you feel good because they cause the brain to release more pleasure chemicals like dopamine. Some can also cause your brain to not re-absorb the dopamine that is has already released. This leads to the chemical “pooling” in your brain, or saturating it to the point that you feel euphoria. Just like cocaine can cause you to think that you’re happy and having a great time, eating bad food can have the same end result.

Handling Every Kind of Addiction

In order to reverse this trend, we may need to treat unhealthy eating habits in the same way we do drug addiction. Effectively treating addiction means not calling it a disease, but instead examining the behaviors that led us to getting addicted in the first place. Even if complex mental and physical processes are at work, the individual has to choose to use drugs. In the same manner, an obese person has to choose to eat the foods that are causing him to be unhealthy.

At Narconon Arrowhead, drug addicts are helped to discover the reason that they started using drugs. Whether it was an unhappy situation with a family member or the loss of a job, addicts need to learn why they started using drugs in the first place so that they can put effective strategies for stopping drug use into place. Chronic overeaters can do the same thing. No matter what type of addiction you are falling victim to, professional help is the answer.


Boston Globe: