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Obesity a type of addiction, warns psychiatrist Dr Isabella Melca

Posted on: January 21st, 2013 by Hired Power No Comments

Obesity is a huge problem in our country. Please read the following article I found in the Herald sun. It is on addiction and obesity as an addiction.-Ally

OBESITY should be seen as an eating disorder and not a lifestyle disease, according to a visiting psychiatrist.

Dr Isabella Melca, a psychiatrist at Rio de Janeiro State University, said people who do not understand when they have eaten enough have an eating disorder.

“Just as sufferers of anorexia nervosa have a distorted perception of their bodies and an emotional relationship with food, so do people with obesity,” Dr Melca said.

“To feel good, they eat. If they have a problem they eat and then they feel guilty which they can’t control so to feel better again, they eat.”

Dr Melca said while modern life is structured entirely around food and lifestyle plays a part in the increasing incidence of the disorder, people with obesity suffer dopamine addiction.

Dopamine is a neuro-transmitter which helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centres. Foods high in fat and sugar increase levels of dopamine.

Instead of food, Dr Melca encourages her patients to look to other sources of pleasure in their lives.

“I ask them what they can do for themselves, other than their job and their relationships, that makes them feel good,” she said.

“It can be anything other than food. This trains the brain to seek reward in other, more constructive, areas of the patient’s life.”


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