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Food Addiction in America

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Addiction is a dependence on a substance in which the affected individual feels powerless to stop. Millions of Americans have addictions to drugs, alcohol, nicotine, and even to behaviors such as compulsive gambling and shopping. Recent studies suggest that millions of Americans are addicted to food, as well.

An average American is bombarded daily with random propaganda to try to sell what some would consider "perfection". Most American citizens try to emulate those fictional characters in celebrity magazines. The truth is a lot of those pictures are air-brushed and some of the individuals have had extensive cosmetic surgery and other medical procedures done to look that way. This media manipulation is the main cause for the many eating disorders and the people addicted to them. For most people eating is a satisfying experience. But for some, eating is an impulse. Men and women of all ages force themselves to eat too much or too little, and experience incredible psychological pain when they do. Body weight and image become a fixation that damages relationships and has severe health consequences. Food addiction is a disorder characterized by obsession with food, the accessibility of food and the expectancy of pleasure from the intake of food. Food addiction involves the recurring consumption of food against the individual’s better judgment resulting in loss of control and anxiety or the limitation of food and obsession with body weight and image. In today’s society the worth of a female is based upon her age, her body size and her looks. The male’s worth is based on the amount of money earned or inherited, and athleticism. These images of “perfection” have been engraved in people’s minds, forcing them to believe that if they can’t live up to the same standards it will mean that they’re not good enough. This is a main cause of most disorders and addictions. Some addictionologists believe that society contributes to the development of addictions by establishing unreasonable or unreachable criteria for worthiness. Individuals who are under chronic emotional distress like negative feelings of self and inappropriate methods for dealing with emotional stress use food disorders.

There are three main types of food addictions, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and compulsive overeating. Anorexia Nervosa is characterized by extreme fear of gaining weight and ...

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...ds brings more shame onto the individual causing the cycle to restart.

Meanwhile the individual’s state of mind is also being psychologically damaged. The person becomes depressed because the image that the individual sees in the mirror does not match the image seen on television. This causes a decrease in self-esteem and confidence. The guilt, shame and low self-esteem causes binge eating and the cycle begins all over again. These eating disorders are highly addictive causing Americans a high state of panic. The treatments used for every one of the disorders are different. Anorexia depends on hospitalization while on the other hand over eating doesn’t require it at all. All three disorders require some sort of therapy to deal with the psychological damages and to prevent further complications. These three illnesses are affecting a lot of America’s adolescence as well as the adults. Despite the caution and awareness people have to exercise when dealing with such addictive disorders there are treatment facilities that can help. In any case, it cannot be overemphasized how important treatment is, the sooner, the better. The longer the behavior exits the harder it is to overcome.
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