Definition of Addiction: being abnormally tolerant to and dependent on something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming
Addiction is addiction is addiction. Whether it is food, booze, cigarettes, pot, shoes, purses, candy, coke, working out.... I heard somewhere that you can even become "Addicted to Love". Yes - some are definitely more destructive than others, but these days you can be addicted to almost anything. Granted, I have never heard of anyone addicted to lettuce, or mowing the lawn, or folding laundry - but I am certain in this day and age we could find someone if we really looked. It seems the world is quick to throw the addicted label on everything, and you can be medicated for just about anything - and sometimes, one leads to the other.
I have been watching a show called 'Drugs, Inc." - I believe it is on the National Geographic channel. It pics a specific type of drug, and follows addicts, the growers, the people who traffic the drug, the dealers, etc. These addictions are no joke. They mess up every aspect of the addict's life. They spend their entire day looking for their next fix. With heroin, they have to inject themselves 2 times a day, or their bodies pretty much shut down. They lose friends, family, loved ones and in many cases, their jobs...all chasing their next high. It is horribly sad to watch. I have found myself, especially when they were showing the pictures of "meth mouth", wondering how could these people let this happen to themselves?? They know, before trying them, that these drugs are highly addictive - and had probably at some point been warned of the side effects of continued use.
Then it dawned on me. I certainly don't mean to belittle addiction - I know they are very serious, and in many cases life-threatening. Although my "addiction" to food didn't get to the point of being quite as severe as the majority of the drug addicts highlighted on these shows, that could have definitely changed had I continued down the path I was on. McDonald's was my dealer, and as much as I knew french fries were going to make me fat - I ate them anyway. It seems to me that food addiction can go either way - those that over-eat, or under-eat - and both come with their fair share of issues. There are a number of people in this country who cannot work because of their weight, or their health due to their weight. Where drug addicts are spending their days looking for their next fix - food addicts are obsessing about their next meal, or next snack. Some involve friends and family to either bring them food, or help disguise the fact that they aren't eating - or in some cases, exercising off everything they did eat. Food addiction, in extreme cases has a very real effect on those around you.
Some of us are just lucky enough to have families who care enough about us to intervene before it is too late. I have always felt fortunate that I was able to make healthy changes, before I was on medications for diabetes, high blood pressure - or any of the other medications so many overweight people are on. I was/am one of the lucky ones.