Increasing Pleasure in “Food Addiction Recovery”
One of the most critical factors to address in food addiction is a pleasure. In reality, highly processed foods are easy to overindulge in for anyone. Highly palatable foods increase the amount of dopamine in the brain, which is highly rewarding and pleasurable and perpetuates the cycle. This process can become compulsive when this is the only source of pleasure in one’s life. Further, as the behavior increases, the number of dopamine receptors in the brain may decrease, leading to more frequent seeking out highly rewarding foods.
Other activities include socializing, playing games, exercising, having sex, discovering new things, finishing tasks, and accomplishing goals (yes, write down your tasks and check them off for a dopamine boost!), creativity, meditation, and listening to music increase dopamine in the brain. When a deficit in naturally pleasurable activities, the balance gets tipped over to food. Food is comforting, accessible, and quick.
Excessive stress, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, lack of sleep, and vitamin and mineral deficiency can lead to dopamine depletion. To overcome food addiction, specific therapeutic protocols and techniques are needed. This means the most effective protection against food addiction is creating a recovery plan, working towards rewarding actions, activities, and ultimately, a lifestyle of fulfillment.
As you can imagine, issues such as anxiety, depression, and trauma can make it challenging to pursue dopamine-boosting activities. Thus, addressing these factors and healing from trauma is an essential component of recovery.
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