There is a bit of an unholy triangle, especially in women, between eating disorders, addiction, and self-harm. I’ve been given an opportunity to explore some of this for Radio 4, and have been interviewing neuroscientists, psychologists and psychiatrists. As usual, though, the thing that really illuminates the evidence is the testimony of those experiencing the problems. I’ve interviewed two people for the documentary from Overeaters Anonymous, a self-help group for people with compulsive eating habits. Both have stolen to feed their habit, and both have lied to those around them, as well as to themselves. Both have experienced shame, guilt and disgust. Their stories were striking, in how like the stories of those with alcohol problems they were. Particularly telling though was that although food or overeating was their main problem, both also had problems with alcohol, and described themselves as alcoholics.
The programme is called Constant Cravings: Can food be addictive?, and will be broadcast on Radio 4 at 8pm on Tuesday 30th April, as part of File on Four series. I’ll post up a link to it when I have it.