Binge Eating

Dirk Hanson Takes A Look At The Definition Of Addiction

Addicted to what?

As we all know, the definition of addiction has been loosened lately. The authors of the DSM-V are grappling mightily with the issue of “behavioral” addictions, such as gambling and shoplifting, while media and the popular imagination have already moved on with unseemly haste to sex and Internet addiction.

Meanwhile, scientists and treatment professionals working in the field of professional addiction medicine are reluctant to move away from the stance that an addiction requires
a material substance, not an inchoate desire acted out physically, to meet the definition. Hence the ready term, “substance abuse.”

It’s a slippery slope—but so is addiction, ranging from late-stage hereditary disease, to “problem drinking,” to “social” drug use. Historically, there has been a tendency to see addiction in black and white: Either everything is addictive, as New Age therapists and radical rehab therapists maintain, or nothing is addictive and it’s all a shell game, as apostates like Stanton Peele maintain.

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The psychologists vs. the materialists

Peele is a frequent contributor to Psychology Today, which makes sense in a way, since psychologists and other therapists without an M.D. have been fighting for legitimacy ever since addiction moved from the realm of the purely psychological—Freud and Timothy Leary—to the realm of the strictly “physical”—dopamine transporter molecules and the nucleus accumbens.

The materialists—addiction as a disease entity with physical, psychological, and behavioral components, like most other diseases—have been in the ascendency for some time now, as witnessed by the gradual transformation of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) into a top-flight research agency for addiction neuroscience. Psychology, not so much these days.

The rebound

Baroque theories of the psyche have given way to fMRI brain scans. Naturally, that means we are due, or overdue, for a rebound, and indeed, it’s already underway. Stanton Peele is always a good barometer in this respect. A contrarian ready to shred the myth of addiction and the foolishness of the disease model at any opportunity, Peele’s stock has never been higher, even though his basic stump speech hasn’t changed much in decades.

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And it is true that neurobiologists have not been very interested in, say, just how effective a particular strain of cognitive psychotherapy might be. But in fairness, the nurturists, the blank slaters, have had their way with the addiction issue for most of the past century. And they haven’t done a very good job of curing or treating.

Meanwhile, law enforcement officers have done a spectacular job of arresting, which is certainly a strong indicator of where our sympathies generally lie on this question.

Science will lead where CBT can’t

The scientific field of addiction-as-disease is incredibly young. Psychotherapy has had a hundred-year head start on addiction medicine, and not much to show for all that lead time. So if someone asks about the lack of effective medicines (they are everywhere, but not well advertised and not effective for everyone), stop and consider that addiction medicine, as a field, is little more than 25 years old. It’s not quite time to start reassigning addicts to a modern-day version of TB sanatoriums. How behavioral addictions fit into the future picture will depend upon what science tells us. It will not hinge upon what cognitive therapy reveals. That’s my bet, anyway.


Can You Be ‘In Recovery’ And Still Smoke?

If you smoke are you really in recovery? Although I’ve written about the ‘blind spot” that many recovering people have around smoking before, it’s never crossed my mind that smokers might not meet the criteria to sign up as full members of the recovery club. Not until now, that is.

I know Prof. Tom McLellan because of a seminal paper he wrote in the Journal of the American Medical Association ten years ago, drawing comparisons between diabetes, hypertension, asthma and addiction. He said that we need to stop treating addiction as if it is an acute illness. It behaves much more like these chronic conditions. These days we’re more aware of the need to support recovering people in the longer term.

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A professor of psychiatry, Tom McLellan is well respected and has had a distinguished career including as an advisor to the White House. When it comes to addiction, he tends to know what he’s talking about.

At a conference in New Zealand last week, he said;

“The consensus definition now used for recovery in the US, Britain and France is ‘a voluntary lifestyle characterized by sobriety, good personal health and citizenship’.

“By this definition, sobriety alone is not enough to qualify. The citizenship aspect also means acting in a responsible manner towards those around you. It is widely agreed those who simply stop drinking or using but do not change their attitudes and behaviors are not likely to remain abstinent for long.”

And there’s where the smoking thing comes in. Smoking represents unchanged addictive behavior. Can someone really be in recovery if they continue to smoke?

Find the effects of smoking in the video below,

“Logically we’d have to say no. Why would a definition of recovery emphasizing abstinence from drugs of abuse and good personal health allow individuals to use nicotine, the most abused drug in the world?”

As I’ve said before, it worries me that half of my friends in recovery who continue to smoke, ironically snatched from an untimely end due to alcohol and other drug addictions, will die early of smoking-related diseases. Does that mean I stop calling them “recovering” or “recovered”? I don’t think so, but Prof McLellan does shine a bright spotlight on this particular elephant in the room. And it’s not going to slip out of sight under the rug.

However, Tom McLellan also says on the subject:

While work will definitely take place in the future to reduce or eliminate smoking among individuals in recovery, as of now even those who remain addicted to smoking and nicotine continue to have a place in these groups due to general consensus.

Magnus Callmyr Speaks On Swedish Drug Recovery Organizations

There are very few Swedish organizations in the addiction field, and any recovery movement is yet to be born. RFHL is still active as an organization and works mainly with prescription drug addiction, but also supports a network of ex-addict treatment cooperatives. RFHL is mainly unheard of in the public debate and is still kind of associated with its origin in the 60s left-wing political field.

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Another more active body is a user organization for those in methadone programs. It was established some years ago and it operates to increase the availability and reduce the regulatory framework surrounding methadone programs. It is often strongly opposed to the other “two nodes” in Swedish drug policy field, the twelve-step movement and the temperance movement.

The Twelve Step Movement, primarily AA / NA is relatively well developed in Sweden, with its meetings available in most larger cities, however, there are no activities other than traditional meetings. There is very little outreach except for “service” at treatment centers, detox, jails and the like. In some cities, there are other variations on the twelve-step program (i.e. Cocaine Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous etc.). And in the capital, Stockholm, other self-help groups have been established, but they have not reached any significant proliferation or activity.

In very close informal connection to Narcotics Anonymous is an organization called KRIS. KRIS stands for Criminals Return Into Society and they mainly work with peer support, some political influencing, and in some cases, they also operate outpatient programs. KRIS has very close formal links to the temperance movement.

The most powerful organization in Sweden is the temperance movement. The core is called IOGT and attracts thousands of members, and although mostly previously focused on alcohol, in recent times, they have increased their interest in illicit drugs politics.

Another strong organization, with a few thousand members, is the RNS (National Association for a Drug free Society). It is a very visible player with connections to the 1970s movement for a repressive and strong prohibition line.

Do Swedes recover?

Of course Swedes recover, but maybe not in the numbers one could wish for. There are some very interesting questions to be raised concerning the situation in Sweden. I have some questions:

  • Who promotes the interests of former drug users and role models the possibilities of recovery?
  • Who shows that addicts are also people (maybe a simple question, but in my opinion, not simple at all)?
  • Who shows that human rights are also valid for addicts?
  • Who pursues the question of broad and personalized ways out of this hell called active addiction?
  • Who is spreading the hope of a better life?

As I’ve said, there is no such organization in Sweden, actually not even a seed for this, even though we are a few that have come to declare “now is the time!”. I am involved in trying to start such an organization in Sweden. For my part, it started with all my experience of authorities on the difficult road back to a life without addiction. It began with the insight that it was very difficult to find treatment that met my needs. Perhaps it started even before that when someone in a pub shouted “fucking addict” to me (that’s why part of the title of my autobiography is “fucking addict”).

The mental journey definitely started as I shared a train compartment with the president of one of the two existing organizations for relatives of addicts. I was on my way to one of the major biannual conferences in the addiction treatment field. Represented there were some of the above-mentioned organizations – there were government agencies and there was the scientific community – but we, who really know what it is about, were not even represented. (Apart from a little table with information from NA.)

It is like the often-lengthy debate articles the major newspapers, different organizations and profilers write, about what is going on in the addiction area, but you never find us there as authors. It is about us, not with us.

European perspective

In my mind, two questions are central: “Who is an addict?” and: “How can we act so that as few as possible have their lives ruined, both from the point of not starting to abuse and from the point of access to individualized treatment?”

Both issues are central to me – there is so much ignorance and so many prejudices about us that it leads to the consolidation of a strong stigma of us all. We lose a great deal because of this and we should change that.

Similarly, we need to change so that it is not possible to save public money on or by denying us our human rights to get support and treatment that will help us back to be functioning members of society. It is a human rights issue. Who is responsible for this in Europe?

There are many who act politically around our questions, everything from political parties to interest groups, the Swedish temperance movement, for example, has an office in Brussels. But where are those who guard our interests? And as different organizations are working together with a particular focus on drug policy in the EU, why don’t we?

Here is a video on the Faces of Drug Addiction,

The answer may well be simple: we are not very well organized as a group, even though we have everything to gain by organizing ourselves to be stronger in order to better represent our interests on the most basic level of human rights and equality. I was shocked to find out that in Sweden there is legislation which states that an individual with former addiction problem cannot be discriminated against, despite all the contrary evidence with stigma, etc.

Maybe it’s just as bad in other countries. I am totally convinced that this discrimination is contrary to EU regulations, but who would field that question in Brussels? I have been denied several jobs with reference only to the fact that I belong to a group called “former addicts”. Such discrimination must end. I am convinced that the way of achieving this is through national and international cooperation.


Are you a binge drinker? Time to take the test!

It is match night and you go through the last bottle of beer in the pack, having already downed the previous five. Or you have a few last shots on the house before leaving the pub and heading home.

Have you ever stopped to consider that you might be entering the ‘drinking danger zone’?
Chances are you haven’t and yet you already are counted among the men in America who’ve become binge drinkers. And you’re just one in the 38 million adults in the country who have fallen prey to binge drinking.

Ok, so the question you ought to ask now is…

When are your drinking habits counted as binge drinking?

For guys, binge drinking refers to have more than 4-6 drinks in a short span of time. But this is a grey area because binge drinkers definitely indicate an alcohol problem, but not the kind that makes them absolutely dependent on alcohol.   In fact, they won’t have withdrawal symptoms, but that is not to say that they won’t turn out to be alcoholics later in life. So the sooner you realize that you’re a binge drinker, the safer you will be from becoming an addict to alcohol.

So here are the signs that will prove to you whether you are a binge drinker or not—

  • Are you suddenly into taking big risks? Alcohol can reduce and even smash inhibitions to the extent that you do things completely opposite to your nature. And if you are one of those who has done everything in life correctly – but for the alcohol bout following which you took unlikely risks, then you might give drinking a thought.
  • You simply cannot miss your Friday night booze party? It could show your increased dependence on alcohol, so much that it starts to become routine. Alcohol once a week might be good for the body – or so show studies on this – but that doesn’t make drinking all right. Alcohol still does more harm than good.

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  • Do you not even realize how much you drink? Does it keep going till you suddenly realize that you have had a lot more then the limit you set for yourself? Then you seriously have a problem, especially if the buzz you feel after downing 6 beers kind of overshadows the fact you’ve actually had 6 beers without meaning to have them all at one go.
  • Do you have episodes of black outs or memory loss? Does it happen such that you simply cannot recall what you said or did after consuming the copious amounts of alcohol? Then you definitely have a problem – and usually this leads to you giving alcohol priority. The things that were once important stop being so and you care more about drinking – be careful, because that is trouble.
  • And if your friends and family have started noticing, worse still, if they have started worrying then it’s time you stop and find out just how far you are on the path to becoming an alcoholic.

There is a very thin line between being a binge drinker and an alcoholic – it just looks like there is a difference…in reality, when binge drinking becomes a necessity to stay alive, you’re an alcoholic, or near about.  So it’s time for a reality check, the sooner, the better!

Find the video below to get info on binge drinking,

10 Ways To Stop Binge Eating And Reclaim Your Life


Binge eating is actually an addiction of a sort – it is an addiction to food, as opposed to nicotine, alcohol or any other such so-called addictive substances. When you find yourself addicted to food – you will eat, even when your body does not need any food! And that is binge eating.

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But this cannot continue – it can lead to weight issues, digestive issues, and of course psychological issues. And these 10 ways to counter this urge can actually help:

  • Bust stress

Usually people respond to stress by eating – because they find comfort in food. So busting stress can help.

  • Eat 6 healthy meals a day

3 major meals a day – breakfast, lunch and dinner, and 3 snacks in between should keep you full for the whole day – helping you to fight bingeing.

  • Don’t tempt yourself

Binge eaters normally find themselves addicted to unhealthy foods – desserts, junk food, fast food or unhealthy beverages. Stay away from these so you are not tempted.

  • Do Not Diet!

Dieting gives rise to cravings – and cravings will make you want to eat. And that’s a classic case of stress leading to bingeing.

  • Workout

Exercise releases feel good chemicals in the brain, making it unnecessary to seek comfort in food. It also helps you to burn the excess fat.

  • Avoid boredom

Most binge eaters deal with boredom by eating! Instead try to keep yourself occupied and you will have beat binge eating to a certain extent.

Here is a video on how to stop Binge eating for life,

  • Sleep is very important

When you aren’t adequately rested, you lack energy reserves. And naturally the body starts craving sugar and calories to burn for energy. This leads to bingeing. Instead, sleep well and you will notice the difference yourself.

  • Learn to listen to your body

Whenever you are faced with food – stop and listen to your body. Is it physical hunger or emotional hunger. And if it is emotional – just divert your mind elsewhere.

  • Maintain a food journal

In this note down the time, what you ate and how much of it. This usually helps to draw patterns that can help you to link up your situation, your moods and your bingeing – allowing you to work out a strategy to beat it.

  • Join a support group

Just like you have addiction support groups – you have binge eating ones as well. They help you to beat depression and stick with your resolve.

So make the most of these 10 tips – incorporate them, try them out and you are sure to be able to beat binge eating!


9 Symptoms Of Binge Eating – How To Tell When You Need Help


And so you can decode your bingeing, we have brought you a list of 10 symptoms of binge eating:

  • When you binge, you are likely to eat LOTS of food – you may feel like others are nibbling in comparison.
  • Also binge eaters normally eat very fast – they tend to just swallow the food without taking much time to chew or enjoy the food.
Binge eating

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  • If you tend to feel hungry even when you know that you are full, and thereafter if you are left feeling too full, that means you need help.
  • If you feel like you have no control over your eating, then my friend, it IS bingeing.
  • If you tend to feel anxious or depressed often. And if at those times, food seems like the answer.
  • The same feelings of depression, shame, guilt or disgust about your eating is another indicator.
  • Do you tend to eat alone most of the time? This can be another sign that you are eating too often and too much.
  • Do you feel lonely and have a tough time expressing yourself, especially your feelings?
  • And finally, a sign of bingeing is frequent dieting, followed by bingeing episodes, leading to a constant fluctuating of weight. In other words, yo-yo dieting.

All 9 are classic signs of binge eating that has gone beyond the levels of self-help. If you find yourself suffering from a majority of these, then you had better get an appointment with a therapist at the earliest. Look at bingeing as the serious disorder it is, and start taking the right steps to beat it now – before it gets too late!

Find the below video to find out the truth of food disorder,