As I near the conclusion of my project, I am very excited about all that I have learned throughout the summer.  I could not be happier with my decision to pursue a Freshman Monroe Project and the opportunity that was subsequently granted to me.  Added benefits aside, I realize that all I really needed to motivate me to do this research was a deadline and the expectation from others that I would not waste their time and resources.  Although my project started out kind of rocky (it took me weeks to finally settle on a topic), I hope that the finished product reflects the time that my advisor and I have put into it and the excitement with which we present it.

No one is really sure that food addiction exists.  However, based on my findings and those of the researchers who wrote the studies I referenced, it seems pretty likely that it does.  It amazes me that something as essential to our existence as food can become so detrimental to our lives.  There is a fine line between enjoying food and allowing it to control us and it can be very difficult to determine where that line actually is.  In my research, I defined food addiction according to the definition of substance addiction put forth in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.  But, it turns out that defining something and knowing how to treat it can be two completely different issues.

There are a plethora of academic papers dealing with drug addiction.  From taking other medications to joining a support group, it seems that the research community has tried it all.  Yet, not much has been done in the way of treating food addiction.  Every study conducted on food addiction disputes the reality of its existence.  Meanwhile, processed foods—and the obesity that results—tighten their grip on our society.  I hope that academia will not waste much more time in uncovering the root of this issue.  In my paper, I suggest that further research focus on the effects of baclofen—a pharmacological treatment—and the 12-setp model of group therapy—a behavioral treatment.   These studies may provide a means of investigating not only the possible existence of food addiction, but they also may uncover effective treatments for the condition.  Perhaps food addiction exists.  Perhaps it does not.  I know of only one way to find out.

Comments

  1. bmtimbrook says:

    Hey Jessica!

    Your research sounds really intriguing. You noted that high-sugar/processed foods are often the ones that most people become “addicted” to. However, did you find any examples where healthier alternatives were the addictive food of choice? Additionally, do you think the reason for the addiction stems from the effects of the food itself, or from a confluence of psychological factors that make the food seem more enticing (e.g. as a kid, someone who wasn’t allowed to have candy except for on special occasions becomes addicted later on in life because he or she attributes candy consumption to these special occasions)?