The Neural Functioning of Individuals: Analyzing Food Addiction

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Introduction A corpus of research indicates that people can be truly addicted to food in much the same way that some people become addicted to and dependent on controlled substances such as alcohol, prescription drugs, and illegal drugs. The literature points to parallels between the neural functioning of individuals who are obese and individuals who have demonstrated substance dependence. The literature further indicates that people with tendencies toward food addiction may respond to increased appetitive motivation for food when they try to implement self-control strategies. Some research points to the importance of attention cues in dietary decision-making, indicating that cues about the healthfulness of particular foods can have a modulating effect on food choice. Food cues appear to function in the same manner as the cues that increase the use of addictive substances, and similar neural activation occurs with both conditions. The policy problem indicated by these new findings is that environmental cues are important triggers for behavior and may, in fact, override native responsibility by stimulating disinhibition. These are important considerations for the social response to obesity, food addiction, and substance addiction. Gerhardt, et al. (2011). Recently, the relation has been shown in neural functioning of subjects with addictive-like eating behavior and behavior attributed to substance dependence (Gearhardt, et al., 2011). Specifically, food addiction

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