I am a late stage food addict with over 20 years of stable weight loss, abstinence and recovery; I have been maintaining a 200-pound weight loss for 19 years — with NO bariatric surgery. As an active binge eater, I had lost 100 pounds five different times and each time I gained it back. In 1990 I was personally taught the addictive model of treatment for food as a substance use disorder. It has worked for me when everything else failed. For the last 16 years I have been working professionally with other late stage food addicts. I am a co-founder of ACORN Food Dependency Recovery Services (see www.foodaddiction.com). I have worked with over 2,000 clients, most of whom had tried many diets without success, most of whom had been in therapy for eating disorders for at least a year with no long term success, and many of whom had tried food related 12-step programs without being able to achieve and maintain a stable food abstinence. I have written about my work with Weldon and Werdell in our book, Food Addiction Recovery–A New Model of Professional Support: the ACORN Primary Intensive, 2007. We include in the book outcome research on over 250 participants in the primary intensive; all became rigorously abstinent during the week-long residential workshop; one-third of those stayed stably abstinent for over a year, one-third had short relapse episodes but continued to make progress. I highly recommend that food addiction be added as a substance use disorder in the DSM-5. I would not be alive today had I not treated myself as a food addict, and millions more like me could be more accurately diagnosed and treated if food were recognized as a chemical dependency. Many food addicts also have the characteristics of Binge Eating Disorder, but my experience, both personally and professionally, is that this can only be treated psycho-therapeutically among late stage food addicts if the food addiction is addressed as primary. Thank you for your work in this critical area.
ACORN Food Dependency Recovery Services