Unlike drugs, alcohol, porn or gambling, we cannot abstain from food, we cannot give it up. Food is not only a central feature of life, it can actively support healthy living or actively contribute to unhealthy living.
US statistics show that their healthcare costs for obesity related problems now outweigh the costs of smoking related healthcare. So the addiction/abstinence model does not apply well to food, we need a different approach to support emotional & binge eating clients. Equally, diets or any form of restriction or cutting out of food groups does not work either, in fact it triggers binge eating episodes!
Over time, the food and the attendant health/weight impacts become a problem in and of themselves, which need to be specifically addressed. I have had too many clients come and report of going to another Therapist, who simply said “when we solve the underlying issue, the food problem will disappear”. This is simply not true. Over time, disordered eating results in low mood, high anxiety, hormone imbalance, poor gut health and other health issues.
The binge eating itself also becomes habitual and automatic, embedded in the brain as a coping strategy so it will never simply organically disappear.