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Food Addictions and Treatments

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Addiction.

We hear that word (or we read it) and we jump. It’s bad! It’s immoral!

Yet we read about it, we lap it up, when it comes to celebrities, eh? A bit of schadenfreudeall your money yet you can’t stop smoking or injecting or whatever.

And then it happens to someone we know, and we wonder why other people are so mean.

Now, what does addiction have to do with weight loss?

Quite a bit, actually. It’s certainly a similar mechanism, for people will hide Oreos just as readily as they will hide bongs or bottles of vodka. We find ourselves lying about our behaviors – does that sound familiar? We start, perhaps, with an open bag of chips. And then suddenly we cannot stop.

Is the difference that it’s legal? Is the difference that you won’t kill anyone if you drive after a Doritos binge?

I suppose.

But eating disorders are hand and glove with addictions. They can be just as expensive and devastating as what we normally think of addictions, such as alcoholism.

The High Cost of Obesity to Society

Just like addiction carries a heavy price tag, so does obesity. According to Milliman, the 2010 obesity rate in Massachusetts was 21.8%, one of the three slenderest states in the nation (the other two were Hawaii and Colorado). Income was also higher than in the three states with the highest levels of obesity (Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama). Rates of hypertension, cancer and diabetes were all lower than in the states with a greater prevalence of obesity, too. Clearly, it’s expensive when a society has a lot of obese citizens (the averages in the three most obese states were 35.4%, 32.9% and 31.6% for Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama, respectively). And those citizens may have fewer financial tools at their disposal to help them in getting treatment.

Mixing and Matching

In my travels online, I have come across a startup. Truth be told, I come across lots of startups, or friends will send me information. I have been in the scene, and it’s been a while, so I sift through them. There are a lot of iPhone app companies out there.

But this is not about them. Rather, here is a company making an effort to bring together treatment options for addicts. Recovery Brands is looking to put together addicts and treatment centers. After all, how do people get treatment referrals? It’s from a doctor knows this one or that one, or a judge orders treatment, or someone’s friend of a friend thinks they heard some name, somewhere, at some point in time.

Recovery Brands is doing something different. Instead, they are putting the treatment centers together with the people who need them the most. Kinda like Expedia, eh? Expedia beats the heck out of having to wade through every airline website and deal out there. Recovery Brands does that with addicts and treatment centers. Bring the disparate forces together, and make it easier for people, and great things can happen.

They’ve even partnered with a company called Promises Treatment Centers. Promises is, of course, an addiction treatment center. The relationship is a synergistic one. Their idea is to bring California addicts together with recovery options.

What about here in Boston? What about weight loss?

Weight Loss and Boston

Promises is already working on treatments for food addiction, and their parent company, Elements Behavior Health already tackles it here in the east.Recovery Brands is not far behind. There is more to weight gain and loss than out of control eating, of course. Changing one’s lifestyle so as to include more exercise and water drinking, versus television watching and soda drinking, is a big part of it, as is learning to cook and taking up strength training. But it’s a huge step. For some people, it can be the step they need to take.

Breaking the addictive behaviors can be an enormous first step indeed.

As for Boston, plans are in the works. Come East, Recovery Brands! Come East! According to Live Strong, there are several local residential centers in Boston and its environs.

Recovery Brands’s CEO, Jeff Smith is coming to Boston to scout out rehab sites to join the network. Stay tuned.

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