How Do Obesity and Addictions Overlap?

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It is not a secret. Previous studies have shown that obese people behave somewhat like those who are addicted to alcohol or drugs. However, obesity is more complex than addiction, and scientists are not 100% sure about explaining obesity by the addiction model.



Obesity rates worldwide have tripled since 1975, according to WHO, probably due to the increased availability of inexpensive, high-calorie food. While some researchers believe food addiction is to be blamed, others argue that food does not have addictive molecules like nicotine or caffeine.


To figure out how similar or different obesity behaviors and addictive behaviors are, a research team led by Dr. Alain Dagher conducted an experiment.



A score of the “big 5” personality traits, including agreeableness, extraversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness, and openness is given to individuals after the participants get a personality test. The researchers then link personality test scores with body weight or addictive behaviors and build unique personality profiles.


After comparing and analyzing these personality profiles of 18,611 participants, they found that:


1)      All addictions had very similar personality profiles, suggesting great behavioral overlap.


2)      Although addictions were behaviorally similar to uncontrolled eating, the behavioral link between addictions and obesity was much weaker.


3)      Obesity shared behavioral overlap with mood disorders and certain personality disorders.



The results showed that obesity treatments may benefit from borrowing methods from addiction treatments to improve people’s self-control capabilities due to the similarities overeating and addictions share.


However, further research is still required to fully comprehend the behavioral profile of obesity, since the research only reveal limited similarities between obesity and addictions.


4 Answers

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wheni'm stressful i always have a problem with food. i basically eat ALL THE TIME. i eat my meal n think about what my next meal is. i can't sleep n cook at 3 in the morning. i'm still not "fat" not small either. but this really helps me with my stress.

I think this may be linked to your digestive system. Maybe you need to see a doc.
I'm addicted to junk foods, therefore I'm obese.  How simple it is.
I'm addicted to cola, therefore I have bad teeth. How simple.
food music and drugs have always been there for me whenever I was feeling like a peice of shit.... they've never judged me, criticized me, belittled me, made me feel unloved or hated.... but most of all they've never denied my advances or even yelled at me... sure I am a morbidly obese guy who is addicted to drugs eating and listening to loud music that is very much offensive to most but you know what? I've plum run out to of fucks to give...
Shittttttttt. I read this blog thought it's quite right but after reading your comment I changed my mind. Life is hard.
My stomach is full, my head is empty. But I ain't know no way to fill my head, so I have to keep my stomach filled, regardless that it's already full.
Do you have a depression issue? I don't think this comes out from nowhere. Maybe you need to see a psychologist.