Food addiction is not a mental disorder recognized by the DSM. Still, many obese people show signs of addiction where food is concerned. For formal recognition, advocates of ‘food addiction’ must be able to show evidence to support the claim that certain ingredients have addictive properties identical to addictive drugs of abuse.
The DXM-5 recognizes ‘binge-eating disorder’ (BED) as a distinct disorder separate from anorexia nervosa and Bulimia nervosa. Still debatable is whether or not BED is underpinned by an addiction disorder and should be treated like an addiction. Speaking at the 26th ECNP Congress Professor Suzanne Dickson, neuroscientist from the Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology University of Gothenburg, Sweden, talked about the complications of designating some eating disorders as additions. “A subgroup of obese patients indeed show ‘addictive-like’ properties with regard to overeating, such as loss of control,” said Professor Dickson, “but this does not automatically mean they are addicted.”
More evidence is needed
“This evidence itself is insufficient to support the idea that food addiction is a mental disorder. We do not have a clinical syndrome of food addiction so far, and it is very important to establish the validity of a condition before putting it forward for inclusion in the DSM,” said Dr. Dickson.
Not all addictive behaviors signal addictions
“While the idea of food addiction is intuitively very appealing, there is actually little evidence so far to suggest that it actually exists in humans,” explained Dr. Ziauddeen. “It is very important idea ot explore, but I sis essential that we have sufficient research to conclusively support it before we hurry to recognize it as a genuine condition and start thinking of ways to tackle and treat it.” The current trend toward accepting some behaviors as addictions may help to ease stigmas felt by people who have these behaviors and help them get treatment. “This development is critical because behavioral obsessions that are not pathological can potentially be medicalized, and thus receive a formal diagnosis, in which they reflect an excessive, but non-pathologic, engagement. However, it will be important to avoid over-diagnosing disorders, reflecting the inflationary trend in the lay public to label various behaviors as ‘addiction’.”
Source: ECNP Congress, MedicalNewsToday