Being overweight means battling with food and eating every day. Headlines have suggested that sugar…
Is Sugar Rehab for Real?
If you have ever lamented your inability to stop eating cookies after one, or two or five, felt shame after eating an entire cake or binging on a gallon of ice cream, or felt intense cravings for a sugary snack, you may be a sugar addict. The good news is that addiction treatment centers are catching up to the research that tells us sugar addiction is real. You actually can go to rehab and come clean from your sugar habit.
Sugar Is Highly Addictive
Behavioral addictions, like compulsive eating or shopping, have always been controversial. Most experts recognize that you can get hooked on a behavior, but a few still hold out and claim only chemical addictions, those to drugs or alcohol, are real. Sugar addiction straddles that line. Overeating, or binge eating, is a real condition related to behavioral addictions, but when your food of choice is anything sweet, you are also hooked on a chemical. It isn’t an illicit drug, a prescription or alcohol. It is a basic, simple molecule called sugar.
Recent research has found that sugar can be just as addictive as drugs, if not more so. The most famous study compared Oreo cookies to cocaine and sent shocking headlines through the media: Sugar as Addictive as Cocaine. The study involved rats, not people, but the results were shocking. The researchers found that sugar activated more brain cells in the rats’ pleasure centers than did cocaine, and that when given a choice between Oreos and cocaine, the rats went for cookies most of the time.
Another study showed that people hooked on sugar demonstrated symptoms of addiction that were the same as those experienced by drug addicts and alcoholics. People addicted to sugar have intense cravings for it. They have withdrawal symptoms when going without sugar for a period of time. They also binge on sugar, as drug addicts binge on drugs.
If you recognize these symptoms in yourself—binging, withdrawal and cravings—you may be addicted to sugar. Now that we know much more about the power of sugar, rehab centers have begun offering treatment programs tailored to the sweets addict. Treating any kind of food addiction presents a special challenge. With drug or alcohol addiction, you learn how to abstain. If you can stay away from the substances, you can’t use them. With food, even sugar, you can’t totally give it up. You cannot abstain.
Treatment for sugar addiction is possible, though, and it can help you kick your habit. Sugar addiction rehab involves creating a personal plan customized just for you and your unique needs. Sugar rehab programs also use integrative treatment. Instead of just treating the sugar addiction, your plan treats you as a whole person, using therapy, group support, nutrition education, exercise, relaxation techniques and alternative medicine. Instead of just addressing the psychology of your addiction, sugar rehab professionals will look at your physical, mental and spiritual well-being.
Sugar addiction is real and it can be devastating to your health and to your sense of self-worth, but sugar rehab is real, too. You can beat your compulsive sugar consumption. You can learn to eat well and to be satisfied. You can learn to love yourself again as you beat your addiction and become a sugar addict in recovery.