For a little background, I'm known by everyone in my circle of family/friends for being the most healthy. I eat far less than most people do and it's usually fresh vegetables and things like chicken white meat and eggs for protein. I wasn't always this way, and I was a chow hound in my youth. I was quite large, too. Looking back at this, I believe that I have a degree of food addiction. Resisting sugar is an everyday struggle for me, and I have gone through periods where I don't resist it very much. But usually I stick to generally healthful food for months at a time.

Recently, I slept in an improper position that caused me to wake up with severe pain in my neck. In the grand scheme of things, it really hasn't been that bad, but it was still causing sudden sharp pain throughout the day.

I noticed that my resistance to eating things that are considered junk food was much lower. During moments of pain, I kept having the urge to eat something of large portion that I normally wouldn't have often like hawaiian bbq, burgers, ice cream, etc. I resisted for hours until I caved in and got a teriyaki bowl(I paid for a large with extra meat and sauce) and a Coke.

This isn't normal behavior for me. Sure, resisting temptation is a struggle every day for me, but I also rarely give in just that easily. The whole experience reminded me of one of my friends who deals with chronic pain, and usually she indulges in things like ice cream when she's having a flare-up. She usually tries to eat right but her condition often throws her off the wagon.

Is there something about pain signals that cause the brain to lower its resistance to addiction? I anticipate some people might think that the answer "yes" is common sense, and I think it would be if the pain was caused from withdrawal; the pain I described in both cases is not withdrawal and resistance to addiction was sufficient for long periods of time prior to the incident.

  • Making the jump from jump food to addiction in general is pretty big, in my opinion. I have been in physical pain a lot, and while I do show the behavior you mention (I just mentally can't be bothered to deal with both pain and resisting comfort food), it's not like I also crave heroin, and the word "addiction" really encompasses a lot. So, are you talking about food cravings or and kind of addiction?
    – YviDe
    Mar 9 '16 at 6:03
  • @YviDe I agree that the question could be narrowed by specifying that addiction in question is food addiction, but I would also like to read if someone has come across some studies that explain food addiction (are dopamine pathways involved?) and if and how this mechanism interacts with pain.
    – Lucky
    Mar 15 '16 at 11:28

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