Within our brain there is a system called the reward system.
This system was designed to “reward” us when we do things that encourage our survival. This includes eating.
Sugar, Fat and Salt are the three things that take advantage of the reward system of the brain which, when triggered, stimulates us to keep eating – and eating – and eating – and eating.
The brain is clever and it is hardwired to pursue behaviours that release dopamine in the reward system.
When we do something repeatedly it releases dopamine in the reward system (like eating sweets, drinking alcohol or smoking a cigarette), the dopamine receptors can start to down-regulate.
If the brain perceives that dopamine is too high, it starts removing the dopamine receptors in order to keep things “balanced.”
When you have fewer receptors, you need more dopamine to reach the same effect, which causes people to start eating more junk food to reach the same level of reward as before. This is called tolerance. If you have fewer dopamine receptors, then you will have very little dopamine activity and you will start to feel unhappy if you don’t get your junk food “fix.” This is called withdrawal. Tolerance and withdrawal are the hallmarks of physical addiction. This is why hypnotherapy works so well.
- When addicted to a substance that provides dopamine, the body stops making it to reduce the risk of overproduction.
- The addict is now dopamine deficient, and if the substance is stopped abruptly, the person will experience profound depression with extreme stress and cravings.
- This phenomenon is why people have so much difficulty quitting certain junk foods or an addiction; the person is in emotional agony from lack of brain chemicals that are no longer produced in sufficient quantities to counteract depression.
- Typically, it may take several weeks to months until the brain restores the dopamine receptor sites and produces a “feel good” effect in an addicted person.
If this article resonates with you and you’d like the help of Lytham Hypnotherapy, please call 01253 969695