Obesity: Addiction, Illness, or just plain Fat-Bashing?
Are we taking this too far? Compulsive eating is undeniably a problem for many individuals, as are other eating disorders, with physical health as well as mental health implications. But an addiction? Substance abuse?

Obesity May Be Substance Abuse Problem

GAINESVILLE, Fla., Aug 15, 2004 (United Press International) -- University of Florida researchers said Sunday evidence suggests chronic overeating may be a substance abuse disorder and should be considered an addiction.

"What's the difference between someone who's lost control over alcohol and someone who's lost control over good food? When you look at their brains and brain responses, the differences are not very significant," said Mark Gold, chief of addiction medicine at UF's College of Medicine.

Gold was co-author of three studies published in a recent issue of the Journal of Addictive Diseases that linked overeating, obesity, and addiction, the Washington Times reported Sunday.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson recently announced that obesity, the second most common cause of death in the country, qualifies as an illness that's covered by
Medicare.

"We've taken the position that overeating is, in part, due to food becoming more refined, more palatable, more hedonic. Food might be the substance in a substance abuse disorder that we see today as obesity," Gold said.
If overeating is an addiction, why isn't just plain eating an addiction? Once you start, it's pretty hard to stop. If you don't have food, you crave it. If you see food, you want to consume it. If you haven't had it for a while, you start to have dreams about it. And when you do eat, it's only a short while before the effect wears off and you want more.

File under "oh, please... sometimes you just have to say 'no, that's going too far'..."?