If you have a patient or client who...
... then it is possible that your patient or client has become addicted to certain foods.
The Food Addiction Institute encourages the treatment of food addiction as a serious disease, like drug and alcohol addiction. Health care providers can easily increase awareness of food addiction by asking their patients about loss of control when it comes to eating sweets and other foods. If food addiction is a possibility then proper screening and treatment is mandatory as this requires different treatment than other food related disorders. Untreated and poorly treated food addiction can be catastrophic to patients and their families.
Although this concept may be new to you, there is overwhelming scientific case for food addiction and we offer basic practical suggestions regarding how you can help potentially food addicted patients at each of the progressive stages of this disease.
Make These Suggestions
The following are a list of effective suggestions you can make to your client/patient:
1. Experiment by eliminating foods from your diet that you just can’t stop eating, e.g. products containing sugar, or flour/grains/starches, or excessive fats.
2. Notice if this makes you feel better or worse at first. You may feel tremendous relief, or you may get a headache, or have flu like symptoms, or feel too deprived, or just won’t be able to follow this.
3. If that is the case, consider getting support from a 12-Step Food Program, or another eating related support group (refer to those mentioned under ‘Searching’ on the back of the Resource Sheet).
4. Enlist help from other professionals and programs, e.g. dieticians, psychologists, physicians, food addiction counselors, food addiction intensives, or food treatment programs.
5. Read material that will help you to understand and clarify the problem you might be having with food: The Food Addiction Institute Website, Food Junkies by Vera Tarman, MD & Philip Werdell, The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes, and Cravings by Judy Collins
There are a variety of assessments you can administer to a patient or client. Results may open up the door for the discussion of food as an addiction. Utilize the screening protocol for food addition along with the Yale Food Scale and UNCOPE assessments.