Food Addicts and Symptoms of Food Addiction

Wondering if you're a food addict, have a food addiction? Food addicts may show these signs and symptoms of food addiction. Take a look.

How do you know if you're a food addict, have a food addiction? Food addicts may show these signs and symptoms of food addiction.

Have you ever wondered: "Am I a food addict?" Some of the signs and symptoms of food addiction include:

Secret Thoughts and Behaviors of Food Addicts

Some food addicts steal food or money to buy food. Others experience discomfort in no-food situations.

Food addicts often cover up feelings when food, eating, or weight is discussed, sometimes shifting the subject to another topic. There is a direct relationship between the illness and secretiveness, according to Kay Sheppard, M.A., author of Food Addiction: The Body Knows and From the First Bite. "Addiction thrives in deceit and isolation," says Sheppard.

When the food addict loses control over food, she also loses control over life. Life is a downward spiral in the addictive process. When one is powerless over food, life becomes unmanageable. Desperately, the addict tries dieting, fasting, exercise, and maybe even purging.

Sheppard, who is an eating disorder treatment specialist, says the food addict becomes involved in self-deception and the deception of others, rationalizing irrational behavior and making excuses for the mountains of food consumed. "If you had a life like mine, you would binge too," says the food addict, who truly does not understand at all why he is bingeing.

According to Sheppard, the addict becomes lethargic, irritable, and depressed when all efforts to control food fail. Weight loss programs cannot provide the answer to the problem of addiction. When the exercise addict breaks a leg, she realizes that her food is out of control and she can no longer kid herself. Promises and resolutions fail. Without accurate information about addiction, addicts are destined to fail and suffer continuous blows to self-esteem.

More Symptoms of Food Addiction Expressed by the Food Addict

What are the symptoms of food addiction?

The Cleveland Clinic reports that only the food addict can determine whether there is food addiction. Here are questions that potential food addicts might ask themselves:

  • Have I tried but failed to control my eating?
  • Do I find myself hiding food or secretly bingeing?
  • Do I have feelings of guilt or remorse after eating?
  • Do I eat over emotions?
  • Is my weight affecting my way of life?
  • How is food addiction treated?

Food addicts also might have symptoms including headaches, insomnia, irritability, mood changes, and depression. They can relieve these symptoms -- but only temporarily -- by eating the foods they crave.


  • Cleveland Clinic
  • Kay Sheppard, M.A., mental health counselor and a certified eating disorders specialist.

APA Reference
Gluck, S. (2021, December 15). Food Addicts and Symptoms of Food Addiction, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 18 from

Last Updated: December 29, 2021

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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