One major form of substance abuse that does not receive as much attention nor treatment is food addiction. For some, the line between loving food and having a food addiction can be a thin one. If you have a family member who talks, thinks, and indulges in food to the point that it is beginning to affect the rest of their life and health, they may need to enter a treatment program in order to get well again. Here are some ways that you can start dealing with food as a substance abuse issue and how you can get help for your loved one.
Have them chart what they eat and their weight
Gaining large amounts of weight in a short period of time is likely to be a sign of food addiction. Even if your loved one has not gained much weight but is consuming massive amounts of food, this is still an issue that will affect their health in the long term. Encourage your loved one to start a food diary that they contribute to after everything that they eat. If they refuse, have a family member who lives with them chart out their food consumption. Seeing this in black and white can help them identify that they have an issue.
Find rehabilitation centers that will take food addictions
There are substance abuse programs that will accept those who abuse food into their programs. Overcoming a food addiction is a process of detoxification and starting a new, healthy relationship with food. This process can be very much like that experienced by those who deal with medical and drug substances. Going in for treatment willingly is a positive first step toward true rehabilitation. Substance treatment can take a few weeks to a few months. Determine how long insurance will help to pay for a treatment facility in order to help your loved one start detoxification. There are health programs that would help with this process in order to avoid higher costs down the line that relate to food addiction and obesity. Visit a company like Ascent Behavioral Health Services to see if they accept those struggling with food addiction into their program.
Enroll in peer counseling programs
Just like Alcoholics Anonymous for those who have abused alcohol, there are food addiction groups that offer the same types of peer counseling. Go with your loved one to one of these programs to help them get comfortable with the idea of sharing and contributing to the group. Showing your support at the first meeting can help ease them into the habit of taking advantage of counseling programs that are available to them. These programs are free and can help connect with a free sponsor that has gone through the same kind of issue. Having someone else who has been through the process of learning how to avoid leaning on food as a crutch can help your suffering loved one understand the next steps of the process of breaking through food addiction.