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Obesity : Disease or Addiction

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Old 01-25-2007, 03:08 PM   #1
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Default Obesity : Disease or Addiction

I'm interested in hearing some of your input. For me being overweight has been an addiciton that I've struggled with my entire life. I've been addicted to food, therefore I could never keep any weight off. Sure I could lose weight, but it was always temporary, because the addiction would come creeping back and BOOM, back to square one.

What do you think?
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Old 01-25-2007, 03:23 PM   #2
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I'll be very honest about the definition of DISEASE. Disease covers any naturally occuring metabolic disorders and it also occasionally covers infections (nowadays the govt defines the two of them to be separate, but they may have the same damaging effects on the body). This is MY opinion and no one elses, keep in mind; I don't believe obesity is a disease itself, to me being obese just places you at high risk for health disadvantages, whether that be cancer, heart disease, whatever. However, I personally wouldnt call obesity a disease. As an addiction, unless you've got some sort of hormonal disfunction, an addiction's purely neurochemical in the sense that it does something to your CNS. Someone else mentioned on this forum that being addicted to food is like no other substance in the world- because we constantly rely on food, there's no sure shot way of completely giving it up like you would on caffeine, drugs or alcohol. Isn't it strange? I was so compulsive with food many years ago that I just couldnt enjoy myself without food. Nowadays, keeping my mind of it works so much better, and eating with intuition works so well for me.
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Old 01-25-2007, 03:53 PM   #3
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Obesity isn't a disease; I believe addiction is. Eating can be an addiction like anything else. And addiction is a disease.
http://www.medical-online.com/addict.htm

Let me dig up that post veggielover is talking about...

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Old 01-25-2007, 03:59 PM   #4
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Dare I say it? It's BOTH. Anything your body does that it is supposed to do is called "normal" - but how can gaining 20 pounds in two months because you started taking a certain medication be called NORMAL? So I do think it's somewhat of a disease. A disease that CAN BE controlled, mind you - even beaten! (Tho, obviously, I haven't found the magic yet!)

I also do think it's very much of an addiction. I've always said that alcohol & drugs & smoking & biting your nails & gambling & shopping & so forth are addictions that CAN be controlled, & even completely conquered - BUT NOT FOOD ADDICTIONS - because we must have food to live. Is it possible to conquer one's chocoholism? Sure. But I admit - I've never known ANYONE to do it!
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Old 01-25-2007, 04:03 PM   #5
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here is the thread
All this talk of jealous friends...
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Old 01-25-2007, 04:03 PM   #6
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I think it's both. I think it's a mental disorder just like any other addiction.
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Old 01-25-2007, 04:14 PM   #7
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well, I think what others might be thinking is that its somewhat psychological in terms of addiction. I believe addiction is a psychological disorder. Although, for me, somehow I managed to snap out of it, face reality and took my mom's advice (she basically threatened to slap my face if I didn't stop being so compulsive, which, might not be effective for everyone but it was for me!) I wasn;t ever obese at any point of my life, so I can't specifically judge that.

Good luck on the goals, hit it with courage, and remember, ONE STEP AT A TIME.
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Old 01-25-2007, 04:17 PM   #8
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beach patrol, my Dr. had an interesting take on the wt. gain with medicine. When he griped at me about my wt. , I cried and said that I had gained 50 lbs. in 3 yrs. since starting the high dose of steroids (prednisone). He calmly said the pill didn't cause the weight gain, what you chose to put in your mouth did. He said if a pill could cause a huge wt. gain, it would be given to all the starving children in foreign countries to help them gain wt. and keep them from starving. I had to really think about that one. Yes, steroids made me hungry but I chose to eat KFC, McDonald's , Taco bell. All that is what made me fat.

I think obesity is an addiction and I have it and will always have to fight temptation where food is concerned. I also think it is a symptom sometimes of other diseases such as hypothyroidism or metabolic diseases where the body doesn't metabolize food the way it should. For me, it's the same as I quit smoking 11 yrs. ago and still want a cigarette sometimes. I imagine 11 yrs. from now, I'll still want cheesecake too.
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Old 01-25-2007, 04:28 PM   #9
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I believe it's NEITHER.

I caused my obesity by overeating and being inactive. That's no disease. Although it should probably be a crime. .

I've often said food was my drug of choice. Comparing it to drug and alcohol abuse. But I'm just not so sure if it is a real addiction.

I look at it more as a really, really bad habit.
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Old 01-25-2007, 04:28 PM   #10
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I believe that obesity is a disease that fuels addiction that in turn worsens the disease. My entire family history is riddled with heart disease, diabetes, renal diseases, high cholesterol, etc. The preventative treatment for these diseases is almost always a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet that, unfortunately, is usually packed with added sugar to enhance flavor. Sugar in any form is hugely addictive for me and I need to avoid it at all costs. So in trying to prevent the onset or progression of certain other diseases, I'm laying myself open to my sugar addiction, which in turn only worsens the obesity. And since the addiction / obesity issues are prevalent throughout my entire extended family, I have to believe that obesity itself is a disease.

Either way, I'm a terribly effective storage facility for unwanted pounds.
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Old 01-25-2007, 05:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilybelle View Post
For me, it's the same as I quit smoking 11 yrs. ago and still want a cigarette sometimes. I imagine 11 yrs. from now, I'll still want cheesecake too.
It's actually chemicals in the brain.

Take for example someone addicted to herion. They can use herion for years, and it builds up so they need more and more to get that high that makes them feel good. They are at the point where they are almost dying when they go to rehab (or whatever) and stop using for... say... 10 years. Even after 10 years all it will take is ONE HIT to take them EXACTLY back to the place they were that day they went to rehab.

Your brain never forgets that addiction, and it ever gets less. It stays in the same place and waits for you to do it again and picks up right where it left off.

If that makes sense.

I think for me, thats why I can go without pizza, cookies, chips etc - but as soon as I have ONE BITE or taste of anything of those, I start craving it all.

Your body never forgets that addiction - that is where will power comes into play.

I just want to say, that in no way do I know it all. Feel free to correct me on anything if you feel it is wrong - I am going by what I leanred from one of the best treatment centers (www.edgewood.ca) - doesn't mean they know it all either haha
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Old 01-25-2007, 05:16 PM   #12
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I think it's neither. I think when we start labeling things with fancy terms like disease and addiction, all we're doing is saying "See! It's not MY fault! There's a perfectly valid reason why I can't help being this way." All it does is sabotage us from taking control of what we CAN control, but of what is so hard to control that we look for excuses and blame to explain it away.
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Old 01-25-2007, 05:18 PM   #13
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THE WORD obesity refers to being obese right? Obesity isn't the same as addiction, i think these words confuse each other. Obesity isn't always CAUSED by overeating, some people have metabolic disorders that result in obesity even though they aren't addicted to eating (I know a woman who barely eats over 1300 calories and is obese, so obesity isnt always caused by addiction, and addiction to foods doesn't always result in obesity)

Here is a definition from the NIH, the government's national institute of health, which is practically where research is funded:
"Obesity is a term used to describe body weight that is much greater than what is considered healthy. There are many ways to determine if a person is obese, but experts believe that a person's body mass index (BMI) is the most accurate measurement of body fat for children and adults."

Now let's compare it to a definition given to us by the American Obesity Association:
"Obesity is a disease that affects nearly one-third of the adult American population (approximately 60 million)."

What gives the AOA the right to classify it as a disease if the government thinks obesity refers to a physical state??? Here's why they believe it to be so, in fact, they state that:
"Obesity is the second leading cause of unnecessary deaths.

* Despite its toll taken in death and disability, obesity does not receive the attention it deserves from government, the health care profession or the insurance industry. "

The thing is though, there's a fine line between diseases like cancer and "diseases" like obesity. Cancer is considered a disease by the government, whereas obesity to the government, refers to the physical state, using a BMI scale. Why is this such a big deal? Because the government and insurance companies believe you can use preventative measures to "cure" obesity, while cancer can't be cured. There are ways to LOWER your risk of cancer, but lowering your "risk" of obesity is more obvious. Insurance won't care if you think you need medical attention because to them its not economically feasible to include all the special treatments you can get just because you're more than overweight. They'd prefer to say "Umm, yeah. No gastric bypass, you should just stop eating so much and get some exercise". Where as cancer, they can't say much to a patient except sympathetic things.

I personally believe obesity refers to the government's only because miriam webster would agree with it. In fact, here's M-W's definition:
Main Entry: obe·si·ty
Pronunciation: O-'bE-s&-tE
Function: noun
: a condition characterized by the excessive accumulation and storage of fat in the body


Why does the AOA believe it to be a disease? I don't know, but all I know is that obesity, being "the second leading cause of death" is a pretty big conclusion. (First of all, when you reach the "obese state", I don't think you'll have a high chance of dying right away. You have to develop some disease as a result of being obese, whether it be heart disease, or something else to die. I mean, no one dies PURELY AS A RESULT of being overweight, do they? When the coroner exams some obese corpse, he'she wouldnt ever write on the claim, "this person died as a result of being too fat".) I know many obese people who've lived many years being in that state. Cancer, however, will eventually get you if it metastasizes...

Am I making any sense or does everyone want to think that being obese is a disease? In some ways, I believe what RockinRobin said is why the AOA believes it to be a disease; to simply alleviate the responsibility of preventative health and start pushing our government for more help.
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Old 01-25-2007, 05:20 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by almostheaven View Post
I think it's neither. I think when we start labeling things with fancy terms like disease and addiction, all we're doing is saying "See! It's not MY fault! There's a perfectly valid reason why I can't help being this way." All it does is sabotage us from taking control of what we CAN control, but of what is so hard to control that we look for excuses and blame to explain it away.

MY OPINION ON WHAT THE AOA does exactly! High five!
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Old 01-25-2007, 05:27 PM   #15
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I like what almostheaven says.

I think it's different things in different cases. There are people who actually have a metabolic tendency, and it could be inherited, that causes them to gain weight when other people would not. There are other people who crave foods and find some foods irresistible, and that acts like an addiction--especially in a land where certain foods are relatively cheap and always available, like sugar. Still others learn to eat to deal with emotions--that's not exactly an addiction, but it is a form of self-medicating. And some people's metabolism changes over time--they start out "normal" and then gain as they get older. This last one is the case for MOST people in the country, I think. Look at pictures of your parents or grandparents when they were young and how they look now. So it's not as simple as saying it's an addiction or it's a disease.

It may be NORMAL for some people to develop obesity if they have high-calorie foods readily available and no limits on how much they can get and eat--coupled with a society where working hard no longer means manual labor but may mean sitting at a desk all day.

That's why for so many of us, we have to re-educate ourselves about eating and physical activity. What is food? Why do we eat? When do we stop? What do we do with our bodies? It's an ongoing thing.

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