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Food Addiction

  1. Jessie Menzel,
  2. J. Kevin Thompson

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0365

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Menzel, J. and Thompson, J. K. 2010. Food Addiction. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. University of South Florida

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Food addiction is a topic that has received attention in the psychological literature in part because of the role that it potentially plays in binge eating, obesity, and eating disorders. Food addiction has also received attention as an addiction in its own right, akin to widely known addictive substances and behaviors such as drugs, gambling, and sex. An addiction is defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) as (1) the use of a substance that has mood altering or psychoactive effects, (2) highly controlled or compulsive use of a substance, and (3) the used substance reinforces behavior (American Psychiatric Association, 2000). Other criteria include tolerance and physical dependence. Food addiction specifically is typically characterized by a loss of control over eating certain foods, preoccupation with or craving of certain food or foods, failed attempts to overcome the eating problem despite negative consequences, and use of the food or foods to cope with negative emotions. Food addiction has been tied most often to highly palatable foods such as chocolate, confectionary foods, carbohydrate-rich foods, and foods high in fat content.