Originally Posted by freelancemomma
I have read The End of Overeating and I continue to question the concept of addiction, as does the U.K. professor who wrote the book The Myth of Addiction: http://www.amazon.ca/Myth-Addiction-.../dp/9057022370
I believe there are degrees of habituation, and that some habits are VERY entrenched and difficult to break. But I don't believe in a separate entity called "addiction" that robs us of all control. I believe we choose our behaviours on some level, even our unhealthiest ones, because they provide immediate and dependable comfort in a difficult world.
Let's say an all-powerful genie came up to you (generic you) and told you that if you didn't quit [insert health vice of choice], the person you love the most in the world would have a week left to live. I'll bet you would be able to stop the behaviour with relatively little difficulty. If that same genie commanded you to get rid of your Type 1 diabetes or else, you'd be hard pressed to comply. The way I see it, we DO have control over our so-called addictions. We just don't always use that control in the service of health, and that's OK.
From Wikipedia: <<The life-process model of addiction is the view that addiction is not a disease but rather a habitual response and a source of gratification and security that can be understood only in the context of social relationships and experiences. This model of addiction is in direct opposition to the disease model of addiction.>> Needless to say, I agree with the life-process model.
I also tend to be underwhelmed by all those PET-scan studies that show brains lighting up at this or that stimulus. The logic leading from "frontal gizmoid cortex lighting up" to "addiction" is rather shaky, IMO.
I've never considered myself addicted to food. Over the past 2 decades that I've been a binger I've only seen it one way... I'm weak-willed, and powerless, and a failure. Meanwhile our food supply has become increasingly built solid on preservatives and corn syrup, laden with sugar. Sugar has a physiological and biological effect on your body and your brain - that has been proven.
I have never refered to my food consumption as an addiction. I can see however that it is a form of dependency (chemical, emotional, physiological), and primarily an act of habit. The frontal cortex lighting up as you call it are pathways in the brain that get emblazoned with the same pattern over and over again. For example, every time I get into my car my mind immediately goes to Burger King. Well, ever since I was a teenager I'd sneak off in my car and go through drive thrus. I've been eating in my car for decades. So now, hungry or not my mind immediately turns to that as soon as I get into my car. Call it an addiction, a habit, whatever you want to call it, it's as simple as Pavlov's dogs.
The only notion that I'm not willing to entertain is that I am not motivated and that I don't have willpower. If I didn't have either I wouldn't have successfully completed college and graduate school, I wouldn't own my own buisness, I wouldn't have a successful marriage and wonderful friendships, and have achieved all the success I've ever worked hard for. My mother always told me (who is naturally skinny and distant from food) "You're such a successful person, it's hard to believe you can't conquer food."