Is there a 12 Step Program for Food Addiction?

Yes there is a 12 step program for food addiction. There are 12 step programs for just about every addiction out there. The 12 step concept is one that appears to help addicts of all varieties. According to the National Library of Medicine, 12 step programs work when combined with other forms of therapy. With this in mind, a 12 step support program may be your answer to food addiction. When considering a 12 step overeating program, you should who needs treatment for over eating, how this particular program works, and how it differs from standard 12 step programs.

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Who Needs Treatment for Food Addiction?

food addicts anonymous

There are multiple support groups for people with food addiction.

Although many people struggle with their weight, not everyone is addicted to food. A food addiction is a medical and psychological issue, not just a love of eating. Food addiction closely resembles other addictions in that it is the compulsive need for food.

People who are addicted to food:

  • have an obsession with food. They are constantly about when they eat, how they eat, what they eat, and always make sure they know when they are getting more food.
  • chronically overeat at mealtimes by a large margin.
  • try to control eating and failing.
  • fall into a pattern of binging and purging.
  • use unhealthy practices to lose weight such as laxatives and vomiting.
  • associate eating with other pleasurable activities such as watching TV.
  • eat when they are bored, full, or in feeling bad.
  • hide their eating much like alcoholics or drug addicts do.
  • associate food with either reward or punishment.

These are the typical behaviors of people who are food addicts. The popular opinion is that food addiction is not as serious or is easier to treat than other addictions. This is not the case. Food addiction is as complex and difficult to deal with as other addictions. It requires the same treatments as many of the other addictions as well.

Many people only see food addiction as overeating or a character flaw but as research continues, it is becoming clear that there is more to it than that. Food like any other drug or behavior inspires a physical and emotional response. This response is what people ultimately become addicted to.

How Does a 12 Step Program for Food Addiction Work?

There are two different 12 step programs for food addiction. They are:

  • Food Addicts Anonymous
  • Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous

Both programs attempt to provide help and support based off traditional 12 step programs. Although the steps in each differ, they both believe in these basic principles.

  • Honesty with yourself and others – this is a core belief in any of the 12 step programs. In order to complete the steps outlined, you have to be honest about your addiction and who it hurts.
  • Hope for a better future – without hope for recovery the program will not work. Being hopeful that things can get better is how most are able to work towards recovery.
  • Trust in yourself and the higher power – you have to trust yourself as well as the higher power. Giving yourself over to a higher power is a big part of any 12 step program. If you do not trust that it will help, it cannot.
  • Connection with yourself and others – without a connection to your feeling and others, you cannot develop the sense of community that is integral to the programs ability to help.

Most of the 12 steps boil down to these basic principles. Without them, 12 step programs do not work.

How do Traditional 12 Step Programs and 12 Step Programs for Food Addiction Differ?

Most 12 step programs are based off quitting the substance you are addicted to completely. Obviously the traditional approach of quitting will not work with food addiction. After all you cannot stop eating.

You can however stop eating specific foods. Most of the foods that doctors believe are addictive are high fat and high sugar foods, according to the National Institutes of Health. Abstaining from these foods is a requirement of some of the food addiction 12 step programs.

In traditional 12 step programs, the focus is often on how to keep from using the drug of choice. In food addiction 12 step programs, the focus is shifted slightly to how to eat healthy and refrain from eating in a way that is dangerous or feeds the addiction. Menu planning, meals, shopping, and other healthy practices are often part of meetings.

In many ways, 12 step programs for food addiction are more practical than those for other addictions. They often focus less on giving up something and more on changing the habit. The common goal of drug and alcohol addiction 12 step programs is living without. The common goal of food addiction 12 step programs is practical changes in lifestyle to curb the addiction. This is due to the nature of the addiction rather than the program.

Call 800-895-1695 toll free for help finding addiction treatment anytime.

12 Step Programs for Food Addiction do Help

Regardless of the food that you are addicted to 12 step programs for food addiction can be a large part of recovery. Part of what makes them work is the sense of community and belonging that is often lacking in other forms of therapy. Many people describe success using a combination of counseling, therapy, and a solid 12 step food addiction program.

The first step in any addiction recovery program is admitting the problem. The second step is getting help. There are 12 step food addiction programs all over the country and the same anonymity and community are available through all of them.

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) could be forwarded to SAMHSA or a verified treatment provider. Calls are routed based on availability and geographic location.

The helpline is free, private, and confidential. There is no obligation to enter treatment. In some cases, could charge a small cost per call, to a licensed treatment center, a paid advertiser, this allows to offer free resources and information to those in need by calling the free hotline you agree to the terms of use. We do not receive any commission or fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a caller chooses.

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