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Food addiction?

June 21, 2022

¿Adicción a la comida?

Have you ever wondered why you can't leave behind certain behaviors or eating patterns? Have you ever heard about the brain reward circuit?
Let's start slowly: the reward circuit is a part of the central nervous system made up of neurons responsible for making us feel intense pleasure or satisfaction. This circuit was extremely important for our survival since it favored the repetition of situations (related to food and reproduction), which allowed the perpetuation of our species in times when scarcity and danger predominated.
Brain reward systems are activated by the presence of DOPAMINE and respond to EMOTIONALLY CHARGED stimuli. Dopamine is a hormone but it is also a neurotransmitter, that is, a molecule that transmits information between the different neurons in the brain and activates 5 types of cellular receptors. It is found in the regions of the brain that regulate movement, EMOTION, MOTIVATION and FEELINGS OF PLEASURE.
What problems do we currently find related to dopamine and what relationship do these have with addictions?
We are overstimulated by technology, we stop eating real foods and consume products that alter our brain circuits and as if this were not enough... we lack real connections. The biggest problem is that both excess and deficiency of this vital chemical substance are the cause of several diseases and/or behavioral disorders.
From the point of view of cognitive behavioral psychology, an addiction is a behavior that is directed at pleasure or the reduction of discomfort and manifests itself with a pattern that is made up of two elements:
- A recurring failure in behavior control mechanisms.
- Performing the behavior repetitively despite knowing its negative effects.
We should not only think about toxic substances when we talk about addictions, but there are various behaviors that are also considered as such. Nowadays, it is very common to hear about “food addiction”, “drug addiction (various)” and “social media addiction”. For some people, compulsive eating is a way to cope with stress, anxiety and pain.
The regulation of feeding has to do with a complex system made up of the central nervous system that processes information from various stimuli (external visual and olfactory), internal signals from the digestive tract, characteristics of food and its nutrients. These are hormonal and metabolic signals that intervene in satiation (a process of time that a specific meal lasts and that determines the moment at which it ends) and satiety (suppression of the feeling of hunger and food intake and the time that it ends). lasts this phenomenon). These signals can be altered by emotional issues. When food is a way to channel emotions we are in trouble.
✅ Some useful tools for those who tend to use foods as anxiolytics may be:
✅ Eat seated, with plate and cutlery
✅ Eat slow
✅ Not eating and doing tasks at the same time
✅ Create a calm climate when sitting down to eat
However, many times managing our emotions independently is not enough and it is best to go to a mental health professional, who works comprehensively together with others. When food becomes a frequent resource to avoid, cover up or calm an emotion or situation, the therapeutic space calls us to ask ourselves about its meaning and to speak to ourselves in a compassionate way. Behind these mechanisms, there is a lot of material to know ourselves.
Request your free assessment session with the psychology team here .
For more information you can write to info@mpunti.es or call 722 530 271.

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