Binge Eating Disorders – Food Addiction and Substance Use Disorders


Binge Eating DisordersOvereating and binge eating disorders expose a man to many health issues. Obesity is also one of these conditions that are associated with excessive accumulation of body fats that cannot be controlled with traditional dieting. Body mass index (BMI) scale classifies obese persons, as having BMI value of 30 or greater. Obesity can cause many severe diseases, i.e. diabetes, hypertension, cancers, respiratory issues and cardiovascular diseases, etc. This epidemic is the root cause of many fatal diseases that causes deaths of several people around the globe every second.


Addiction is a term that was in use traditionally for drug abuse, such as alcohol, morphine, nicotine and cocaine. However, now the non-drug substances are pushing towards addiction as well. Here, we are writing about the addiction of non-dug entity, food addiction. In this problem, people cannot control or abstain themselves from certain foods under any situation. Whether they have no capacity to eat anymore, they just start eating that food and reach to a value, where somebody can consider them as hungry.

Bingeing is actually one of the forms of overeating. This eating disorder is characterized by recurring intakes of large quantity of food. The eating is consumption of huge amount of food up to the level of discomfort resulting in removal through vomiting sometimes to counter. The person will feel distress and guilt afterward. It is a disorder that can diagnosed under DSM-5. They are normally abbreviated as BED.

Substance use disorder is the disorder that is caused by use or abuse (excessive use) of some substance or medication. This disorder can lead to clinical impairment or psychological suffering. The act of excessive overeating over a long time becomes a compulsive behavior and it is known as compulsive overeating or food addiction. This gives rise to many binge eating disorders.

In Food addiction, one has to think that could eating a candy or juicy cheeseburger, mimic behavior of eating nicotine, alcohol or cocaine. Many people believed that obesity and overeating are just caused by the lacking of will power recently. The new researches have proved otherwise to this which reveals that many foods- high in sugar or fat content- can produce changes in your neural system that are quite similar to the drug addiction. This issue is also being debated with all its social, legal and scientific implications, in American Psychiatry Association for publication in the latest version of its psychiatric diagnostic c manual (DSM -V). These results are modifying our thinking patterns of what is driving us to overeat. There has been a lot more interest in the concepts of food addiction in recent years. There have been many indicators of similarity between BED and addiction. This includes many similarities like ongoing excessive consumption despite many negative results.

We have selected ‘sugar addiction model of overeating’. In this model, rats are provided access to specific food after depriving them for about 12 hours. The food contains mixture of 25 percent glucose and rodent eats. The rats in this observatory show many disorders of anxiety-like behaviors, teeth-chattering, and forepaw tremor. When the food was removed from the rats for a continuous period of 24 hours, they showed increased level of motivation for the food.

There was another control group of rats in which they were exposed to this food for half an hour daily. Then, this group refrained from indulging in those food intakes showed no such behavior of motivation for sucrose.

The amount or sucrose that was used in the above model was enough to diagnose the addiction behavior. The rats showed extreme dependence for the substance, after removal of the access to the sucrose. High level of motivation for the demand of sucrose was observed in the rats. The rats continued to take more than intended doses of sucrose even after the effects of it, were visible on the physical and psychological activity. This shows that food addiction is somewhat similar to substance use disorders.