Now "transfer addiction" refers to the reverse direction. People who, abstaining from alcohol or drugs, turn to hyperpalatable foods, including foods with high fat, high sugar, and high salt. I have been giving a series of talks to residential addiction treatment facilities to be mindful of eating pathology. Residential settings can be ripe for eating issues. Often the food is set up cafeteria style, buffet and unmonitored. Hyperpalatable foods, although are not as sating, are more cost effective for large groups. Counselors may be trained to treat alcohol and drug addictions but may be wary of peeling the onion to reveal eating disorders.
I am gratified to see more and more research that identifies underlying neurological similarities between drug and food addictions. High fat, high sugar foods trigger the pleasure centers, such as the nucleus accumbens, much like cocaine or morphine. Even the New York Times today (09/16/2014) explores "Closing a gateway to sugar (D4)." It discusses how rehab facilities are looking at changing their food delivery system on a large scale.
With 66% of US adults overweight or obese, and Type 2 Diabetes and high blood pressure on the rise, the consequences of hyperpalatable food intake are clear. It is important to encourage healthier alternatives to manage reward and pleasure and replace more than alcohol and other drugs. It is vital to also look at replacing high sugar/high fat foods. The solution is no longer as straightforward as replacing the whiskey with the candy. Holistic treatment requires a more complex regimen to improve stress management, emotion regulation over fear, sadness, and boredom, and helping the individual feel whole again. Identifying a value driven life can help with this process. Last, building up self esteem and a coherent sense of self will instill the individual with confidence and willingness to engage in bold new lifestyle choices.