Cognitive behavioral therapy is a complex process of mental health services but often necessary to remedy an adverse behavior that arises from a mental health complication. If you are experiencing complications with a food addiction, and if you interested in trying cognitive behavioral therapy, you may want to ask your therapist about a form of therapy known as stimulus satiation therapy.
Behaviors that lead to the development of a food addiction are often difficult to overcome. Because we need to eat to sustain life, the treatment of food addiction often requires a comprehensive approach that tackles not only the physical addiction to food but also the emotional dependency on food. With a combination of traditional therapy, medications, and stimulus satiation therapy, many individuals suffering from food addiction are finding relief relatively quickly.
Stimulus satiation therapy is an innovative type of behavioral therapy that is used as a type of reverse psychology. With stimulus satiation therapy, the client is given whatever is they have an addiction to but the item is given in extreme abundance so as to reach a satiation point and, ultimately, create a negative association with the item.
For food addicts, stimulus satiation therapy involves a controlled method by which the patient is given an abundance of food – so much food that one might consider the quantity to be a form of food binging. By giving the patient not only an abundance of food, required to be smelled, seen, touched, and consumed for extended periods of time, you are essentially forcing the patient to over-exposure. Ultimately, when physiological symptoms develop from over-exposure, and there is a negative impression of food, it is likely the patient will ask that the food be taken away.
While stimulus satiation therapy is not effective in all forms of addiction, many individuals find it is a great way to resolve addictions that may be challenging to overcome. In most hoarding cases, patients use stimulus satiation therapy effectively and so, because of that, it has progressed into a form of cognitive behavioral therapy for other OCD behaviors and addictions.
If you live with a food addiction, and if you are concerned that traditional therapy alone may not provide you with the benefits you need, consider asking your therapist about stimulus satiation therapy. In a controlled environment, it may pose the greatest opportunity for recovery from your eating complications.
Sources: American Therapy, by Jonathan Engel, pp. 86-87.