In neuroscience, food is something we call a “natural reward.”
For human beings to survive, things, like eating, having sex, and nurturing others, must stimulate the brain in such a way that these behaviors are reinforced and repeated. The European Journal of nutrition, reports an increasingly popular theory that sugar acts as an addictive agent, eliciting neurobiological changes like those seen in drug addiction.
Sugar stimulates the brain system that deciphers natural rewards. When we do something pleasurable, a bundle of neurons uses the neurotransmitter dopamine to signal pleasure to our brain, influencing whether we continue the behavior or not.
Sugars are sneaky — and as a society, we have become addicted. In similar ways that drugs such as nicotine, cocaine, and heroin take control and make users dependent, increasing neuro-chemical and behavioral evidence suggests that sugar is similarly addictive. Sugar addiction is real.
The key components of addiction
- Addictive substances are highly reinforcing
- They strongly induce pleasure
- Pleasure leads to liking the effects of addictive substances
- Conditioned behavior to substance-related cues
- Substance use habits are unconscious and become automatic
- Withdrawal from substance use leads to repeated use
- Craving substances may trigger a relapse
All components have been observed in the research of animals addicted to sugar, as well as other substances like nicotine, cocaine, and heroin. Like other drugs, sugar spikes a dopamine release to the brain. Over time, regular sugar consumption changes the dopamine receptors in the brain. Repeated access to sugar leads to prolonged dopamine, greater excitation of the brain’s reward pathways, and an increased need for more sugar to activate dopamine receptors like before.
Although there have been many studies that prove that sugar is addictive, the subject still seems to be taboo. Every patient is unique with their own story that deserves a personal, custom approach to recovery. Often, that means addiction counseling that emphasizes mental health.
If you think that any of these signs of addiction are showing, get help from Healing Springs Ranch. Our clinical team focuses on finding the underlying problem of addiction and is highly trained in trauma situations. Located in Tioga, Texas, you can enjoy many amenities on our 50-acre facility during your residential treatment.
Our amenities include:
- Bocce ball
- Fishing and kayaking
- Sand volleyball
Our types of therapies include:
- Group Therapies
- Art Therapy
- Anger Management
- ABOUT THE DARING WAY™
- Core Curriculum
- Equine Therapy
- Functional Living
- Individual – What Is Emotional Transformation Therapy®
Recovering from an addiction is not easy. It takes the right blend of care and support for clients to truly recover. No one has to deal with the pain of an addiction alone. If you or a loved one suffers from an addiction, there are options available that can help. You can overcome your addiction and enjoy a healthier, happier life. To find out how you can begin your recovery today, call Healing Springs Ranch at 866-656-8384.