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


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.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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