Social Impairment

Food Addict unable to eat at table and enjoy other people
Social Impairment

One of the symptoms of food addiction is social impairment. Social impairment is the difficulty or inability to interact with others in a normal or appropriate way. Food addiction is a progressive disease of substance abuse which can have serious consequences for one’s physical and mental health, as well as one’s social relationships.

Social impairment can manifest in various ways, such as:

  • Isolation:
    • This can result in loneliness, depression, and reduced social support.
  • Conflict:
    • This can result in strained or broken relationships, and increased stress and anxiety.
  • Impairment:
  • Food addicts may have difficulty performing their social roles or responsibilities due to their food addiction. They may neglect their work, school, or household duties, or miss important events or appointments. They may also have trouble concentrating, communicating, or making decisions.
    • This can result in poor performance, low self-esteem, and reduced opportunities.

Food addiction as it progresses in severity can have a negative impact on one’s social life, and vice versa. The lack of social connection and support can make it harder to cope with the challenges of food addiction, and create a vicious cycle of increasingly addictive behaviors with food consumption, emotional eating and isolation.

People with food addiction may experience:

  1. Decreased performance at work or school due to spending much time or activity to obtain, use, or recover from the effects of eating 
  2. Important social, occupational, or recreational activities given up or reduced due to eating 
  3. Failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home due to eating 
  4. Isolation from loved ones, division within family units, lack of enjoyment in hobbies or activities once enjoyed, and avoidance of social events or functions due to shame, guilt, or fear of being judged for their eating behavior 
  5. Risk of jeopardizing finances or career due to spending excessive amounts of money on food or losing control over their eating behavior 

Social impairment is an understudied and less commonly reported symptom of food addiction, which appears to increase in frequency with weight concerns, disordered eating, significant distress, or impairment associated with progressive severity of food addiction.

Social impairment is one of the indicators of the severity and chronicity of food addiction and may require professional help and treatment.