Parallels between obesity and addiction

Obesity is sometimes rooted in addiction and should be treated with the same therapies, suggests a McMaster researcher.

The controversial theory, recently published in the Canadian Medical association Journal, is that therapies for obesity often fail because the patient’s food addiction goes untreated.

“Classifying obesity as an addiction is a strong statement and implies much more than merely a change in semantics”, states the commentary by McMaster University’s Valerie Taylor and two other York University researchers.

” It indicates that screening for addiction and binge eating should become a routine part of treatment for obesity.”

There is currently lots of clinical and scientific controversy around theories of what causes obesity, ranging from genetics, to overeating, to mental health problems and lack of exercise.

Taylor notes the parallels between obesity and other types of addiction.

There is usually a rising tolerance over time so that increased amounts are needed to reach satisfaction, similar areas of the brain are activated, withdrawal symptoms are  noted and there is a high incidence of relapse.

As soon as I read this news article, I  excitedly looked at the causes of addiction that I have been writing about on this blog as well as the New Theosophy Network site.  Does the theory put forward by myself and other theosophists, using theosophical teachings as a response  to modern day issues,  stand up to “try, test and verify” its validity?

It seems that the parallels shared by different forms of addiction are the intense feelings manifested from experiences of one or more of the following: abandonment, betrayal, sadness, loss, grief and early childhood abuse (the abuse can be emotional, physical, sexual).

Intense feelings manifest as  energy bundles which stay with the person, sitting within the personality and nervous system, waiting to be triggered. Triggers may be experiences of alienation, separation, betrayal, loneliness, grief, abusive situations, stress, etc.

New Theosophy Network describes these energy bundles as Skandas and assert that these skandas can be bought over from previous lifetimes by individuals and groups of people who manifest the same energies.

These “triggers” are unique and individual to a particular person depending on past experiences. This may be the key  to why we can’t seem to pinpoint the causes of addiction as universal.  We can only say that some experiences seem to be shared or similar in people who are prone to addiction.

The questions left to be answered are many, but I wonder about two specifically:

Many people are subject to stressfull situations in their lives, why do certain people manifest symptoms of addiction and others do not?

Has research been done that specifically relates early childhood abuse and stress to addiction?

I would welcome your response.

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