From Fuzz Brain to Divorce Rage: Theresa Wright Talks About Food Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms

Episode 10 of the Food Addiction: The Problem and The Solution podcast: Acceptance is Not Approval and Powerlessness is Not Helplessness

Host, Susan Branscome:

Talk about the withdrawal, the irritability, and the brain fog people get, before they start eating the way you tell them they need to eat, what they can expect.

Guest, H. Theresa Wright

Well, you know, I’ve done a lot of careful study of my clients, and I’m actually applying to do a research project with Drexel University on the fact that

withdrawal exists as a physical response to taking all the drug foods out of your body,


  • In the beginning, in the first three or four days, people have headaches and diarrhea alternating with constipation, and they have strong cravings, and they’re hungry all the time.
  • And along about the end of the first week, people have anxiety and irritability and mood swings, and they feel like they can’t live their life this way.
  • And then along about two weeks, I hear from my clients that my whole body aches.

Do you think I have fibromyalgia? No, I don’t think you have fibromyalgia. I think you’re in withdrawal.

And they’re tired, and they’re nauseated, and the food cravings are awful.

  • And later on, they have fuzz brain. They just feel like their brain is foggy, and that’s because the body is replacing the brain cells and fixing the brain cells and reconnecting them. And so they can’t think quite clearly for a while, and then suddenly, their mind is clear as a bell, and they know what they need to do, and they’re off.
  • And then they have the fuzz brain again, and it comes back. And then they know what they need to do, and they move. And then they become furious.

I have had people threaten to divorce their spouses on the 19th day of abstinence. There is this rage that comes out of nowhere and beats you up and makes you feel like you can’t stand yourself, and you can’t stand anyone else.

After that, the fatigue, like I’m walking up a hill, need to eat my peanut butter is what my clients say. I’m so tired, and my brain is fuzzy, and I just tell them to go to bed, take a nap, drink extra fluid, wash this stuff out of your body.

Somehow food addicts don’t drink enough water. You need half your body weight in ounces of water. You’ve got to wash that stuff out of your body, because if you don’t, the kidneys send it to the liver where it’s recycled into fat cells. So you have to focus on drinking enough water in that first month.

And then people get chest congestion and coughing. They think it’s COVID, and it could be at this point in life, but sometimes it’s the body replacing lung tissue, and the extra lung stuff is coming up, and they have fatigue.

About H. Theresa Wright

H. Theresa Wright, MS, RD, LDN, is the Founder and Director of Renaissance Nutrition Center, in Pennsylvania, where she has developed programs to help people master skills to make lifestyle changes that lead to freedom from food addiction and encourage a “sane approach” to eating and living. Theresa has been a nutrition therapist, registered and licensed dietitian and nutritionist, for more than 36 years. Theresa has helped people struggling with compulsive eating, obesity, eating disorders, weight loss, and food addiction, guiding them to experience freedom and recovery.

Listen to the full episode on the Food Addiction Institute Youtube Channel

See all the episodes on the FAI podcast page.

Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts!

The podcast is available on most podcast platforms including Apple, Spotify, iHeart, Amazon, Google, Pandora, and Podtail.

Listeners can also listen to the podcast on the INFACT School website, the INFACT Youtube channel, and the Mobile Food Addiction Institute on Spaces by Wix

Join the Food Addiction Institute community! Become a member, engage in online chats and forums.