Addicted to Fasting: Should You Get Help

According to the Mayo Clinic, fasting may be a good way to strengthen your body and kick off a weight loss program. Unfortunately, there are circumstances where fasting becomes dangerous. When it is associated with excessive dieting or an eating disorder you might need help for a fasting addiction.

What is Fasting?

Fasting is abstaining from foods or liquids. People fast for a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons are:

  • religion
  • spiritual enlightenment
  • to achieve focus
  • organ detoxification
  • cleaning out the body
  • to lose weight

Although no one is sure why fasting accomplishes many of these things, they are certain why you lose weight on the fast. When your body does not have anything else to metabolize it metabolizes fat. This is why so many diets based off fasting exist.

How Can you be Addicted to Fasting?

Addicted to Fasting

Fasting can cause rapid weight loss, leading some to become addicted to it.

You can be addicted to fasting itself, the endorphin rush that fasting triggers or weight loss in general. If you are on a total fast, for the first few days you will lose weight very rapidly. This rapid weight loss is addictive because it produces results quickly. Unfortunately, just as some fasting is healthy, extreme fasting can be dangerous. When you fast too often you deprive your body of vital nutrients. Like many addictions fasting has some side effects that show up particularly when you are addicted to it. These side effects are:

  • weakness
  • muscle cramps
  • fatigue
  • abnormal heart rhythms
  • hormonal changes
  • low blood pressure
  • changes in cardiac function
  • kidney damage

Most of these side effects are reversible as soon as your body starts to get the nutrients that it needs again.

Disorders that are Involved in Fasting Addiction

Fasting addiction is also sometimes due to a disorder. Most eating disorders have a fasting component. These eating disorders are:

  • Anorexia – this eating disorder is characterized by starvation. It is the most common one associated with fasting addiction. A person suffering from anorexia will engage in excessive fasting which eventually causes the body to break down vital tissues after it has metabolized the fat and muscles.
  • Bulimia – although bulimia is generally characterized by binging on food and then purging it, many bulimics have issues with fasting addiction. The guilt that they feel over the binging causes them to fast for as long as they can. The fasting addiction just triggers another binge.
  • Othorexia – an obsession with what you are consuming. People suffering from this disorder often fast on specific foods or liquids to the point where the fasting becomes unhealthy and their bodies suffer from malnourishment.
  • Body dysmorphic disorder – body dysmorphic disorder is an unrealistic view of one’s body. Although technically not an eating disorder, it often contains eating components. Many people who suffer from this disorder see themselves as overweight and then engage in excessive fasting to lose weight that is not actually there.

Almost every eating disorder can have a fasting addiction component. Although some people do not recognize it as fasting, addiction to dieting or fad diets is often an addiction to fasting.

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How to Treat a Fasting Addiction

You can find treatment for a fasting addiction by simply calling 800-310-4680Who Answers?. We can help you find the treatment center that you need.

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