When most people think of addiction, some of the first things that come to mind are drugs and alcohol. But addiction can take many forms, even in the form of something seemingly harmless like food.
Food addiction, along with compulsive eating, is an addiction that can be just as dangerous as a drug or alcohol addiction.
It’s a lesser known addiction and many compulsive eaters hide their struggle for fear of being judged and mocked.
A compulsive eater has an unhealthy relationship with food and uses food as a way to deal with their emotional problems.
Compulsive eaters often eat when they’re not hungry and hide their eating from others.
They also starve themselves to compensate for the overeating or try to purge their food by vomiting, taking laxatives, or exercising for hours.
According to CNN’s Dr. Wendy Walsh, “Compulsive eating is an addiction like any other addiction.”
“It takes over your life and you’re unable to control it, and it affects your ability to function in life. With food addiction, there’s an inability stop eating even if your health is on the line.”
Attending a Compulsive Eaters Anonymous (CEA) meeting allows compulsive eaters to be together with people like them.
CEA-HOW is a 12-step program based on the Alcoholics Anonymous model to help struggling food addicts.
“The first step was we admitted we were powerless over food,” said Cecily who attends CEA meetings regularly.
“We admitted we were powerless over food, that our lives have become unmanageable. So every morning I write down what I’m going to eat that day and I call it in to my food sponsor.”
Cecily also admitted to struggling with alcohol addiction, and didn’t realize it until she started getting help for her food addiction.
“I tend to think that addictive behaviors go together. It’s an emotional problem and a spiritual problem, but I knew from when I was a little girl that I had a problem with food.”
Dr. Wendy Walsh believes that food addiction is a disease just like any other addiction, “Compulsive eating has a mental health component, and it affects people’s quality of life.”
To learn more about compulsive eating and Compulsive Eaters Anonymous, visit www.ceahow.org for more information.
CEA is an international organization with meetings happening in many cities.
If you believe that you have an unhealthy relationship with food, or know someone who does, visit CEA’s website today.