Taking Care of an Ill Loved One

Watch For These Clues That Suggest That Your Teenager Has A Food Addiction

The average person may not group an addiction to food in the same category as an addiction to alcohol or drugs, but counseling professionals know that addictive behavior of any type can be hugely disruptive to an individual's life. To this end, many rehabilitation centers can help people who have all sorts of addictions, including a struggle with food. It can be challenging for some individuals to accept that they have a problem that requires professional help. If you have a teenager who appears to be struggling with food addiction, you may wish to gently see if he or she would accept help from a rehab center. Here are some clues that could indicate the presence of a food addiction.

Frequency Of Binge Eating

Many people enjoy the idea of digging into a large plate of their favorite food and may even use the term "binge" jokingly. This doesn't necessarily suggest a food addiction, though. People who struggle in this regard may eat long past the point of enjoyment; for example, they may continue to eat even when they're full and possibly even throw up at some point during the process. This behavior may be commonplace, even if you aren't a witness to it. For example, you could suddenly notice that a significant amount of a certain food has disappeared from the house in a short amount of time.

Secrecy Around Eating

Some of those with food addiction feel a degree of shame, and may attempt to hide their habits from you. Your teen may spend long hours locked in his or her room and you may hear eating-related sounds, such as chip bags being crinkled, from the hallway. You may also notice food scraps or packaging in the teen's garbage in his or her room. Additionally, when the person shops for food, he or she may take these items directly into his or her room. This high degree of secrecy can indicate that there is a problem.

Obsession Around Food

For some people with a food addiction, food and eating become an obsession. Your teen may talk about food with considerable frequency, perhaps commenting at passing restaurants while driving. Or the person might not be able to go out without stopping to eat, even if he or she has already eaten a meal and shouldn't be hungry. For example, the teen may go to the mall and feel the need to get a frozen yogurt with many toppings to eat while walking around.

To learn more about treating this kind of addiction, contact an adolescent addiction recovery facility.