Does food addiction distinguish a specific subgroup of overweight/obese overeating women?

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Neurophysiological and behavioral similarities have been evidenced between excessive food consumption leading to obesity and addiction to other substances. In accordance, food addiction was defined following the DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for substance dependence. The aim of this pilot study was to identify a subgroup of women suffering from food addiction (n = 11), and to compare them to women suffering from substance-use disorder (n = 23), and to women seeking treatment for compulsive overeating but free from food addiction (n = 12) on addiction-related characteristics (reward sensitivity, impulsivity, personality traits, depression, emotion dysregulation). We hypothesized that women with food addiction would be similar to women with substance-use disorders, and different from women with compulsive overeating without food addiction. Participants completed self-reported questionnaires assessing food addiction and other variables related to addiction. Almost half (47.8%) of women with compulsive overeating fulfilled the criteria for food addiction. Although food addiction does not account for every case of compulsive overeating, it characterizes a specific subgroup of overweight/obese women who show more severe overeating. Women with food addiction seem to be more similar to women suffering from substance-use disorders than to other women with overeating difficulties, particularly regarding impulsivity and self-directedness.

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Bégin, C. , St-Louis, M. , Turmel, S. , Tousignant, B. , Marion, L. , Ferland, F. , Blanchette-Martin, N. and Gagnon-Girouard, M. (2012) Does food addiction distinguish a specific subgroup of overweight/obese overeating women?. Health, 4, 1492-1499. doi: 10.4236/health.2012.412A214.


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