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Book details
  • SubGenre:Alternative Therapies
  • Language:English
  • Pages:186
  • eBook ISBN:9781098389956
  • Paperback ISBN:9781098389949

The Disease Concept of Food Addiction

A Story for People Interested in Recovery

by Philip Werdell M.A.

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Phil Werdell is a recovering food addict who has been particularly successful over the years in helping others understand the disease of food addiction in such a way that they can recover. This book contains a description of his introductory lecture in which members of the recovering community identified their own experiences which proved to them that they were suffering from a substance use disorder with food. In this edition, he has added the review of the science that he wrote with members of the Food Addiction Institute's International Advisory Board in order to provide evidence that food addiction is a disease different from obesity and eating disorders. As a separate disease, food addiction requires special treatment.
Mr. Werdell is a recovered food addict who has worked professionally with over 5000 middle- and late-stage food addicts since 1988. This book is built upon a highly successful introductory lecture he has presented to clients interesting in finding out whether they are food addicted and learning how to treat their disease. Many are unable to find long-term recovery from problems of overweight and eating disorders. An important reason is that many of those who are unsuccessful have developed an addiction to specific foods, e.g., sugar and other ultra-processed foods. One of the best ways of discovering whether someone is food addicted is if they identify with the experiences of others who are developing the characteristics of an addiction, which include: • Physical craving • Loss of control • Denial • Tolerance • Powerlessness • Chronic • Progressive • Withdrawal • Fatal (if not treated) • Treatable This book is a description of the highly successful lecture Mr. Werdell presents to people wanting to begin professional treatment. He shares his own experiences of when he was active in the disease and then elicits from the audience whether there are ways in which they identify with his experiences. Mr. Werdell was the front-line counselor at the six- to eight-week residential treatment program offered by Glenbeigh Psychiatric Hospital of Tampa. After that, he became clinical director of a food addiction program at Rader Institute of Washington state. When health insurance companies cut off payment for residential treatment for food addiction in 1996, Mr. Werdell created ACORN Food Dependency Recovery Services (now SHiFT, Recovery by ACORN), which provided a workshop-based program for those middle- and late-stage food addicts who did not need hospitalization or direct medical supervision. This has been a highly successful program since 1995 and is considered a model of world-class treatment for food addiction. Mr. Werdell has also written extensively about the disease of food addiction, including a review of the latest science with members of the International Advisory Board of the Food Addiction Institute. This research documents the overwhelming scientific evidence for physical craving and loss of control experienced by some people for whom dieting and talk therapy do not work. The scientific report, Physical Craving and Food Addiction: A Scientific Review Paper, was part of the consideration by the American Psychiatric Association in their finding that many with eating disorders also have characteristics of "food as a substance use disorder." The paper has been added to this edition of this book. The first step in successful long-term recovery from food addiction is the deep acceptance that food addiction is a disease. This understanding leads to an abstinence-based approach to recovery and often the need for peer and professional support to recover from the disease of food addiction.
About the author
Author Bio: Philip Werdell, M.A., is a prominent practitioner and writer in the field of food addiction who has worked with over 5000 late-stage food addicts since 1988. He is a graduate of Yale University with postgraduate work in eating disorders at the University of South Florida and adult education at Columbia. At age 46, following a twenty-year career in innovative higher education, Mr. Werdell discovered that he was in an advanced stage of food addiction and spent the next two years primarily focused on his own recovery. After two decades in the cycle of gaining weight, losing up to 50 pounds, and then regaining it, he began treating himself in the addiction model and achieved an 80-pound weight loss. Mr. Werdell's first professional position in the field of food addiction was at age 48 for the Glenbeigh Psychiatric Hospital of Tampa as a front-line therapist in a six- to eight-week residential food addiction program. Five years later, he became lead therapist for the outpatient food addiction treatment program of the Rader Institute of Washington in Seattle. When private health insurance companies eliminated reimbursement for residential food addiction programs, Mr. Werdell was asked to develop a fee-for-service program for treatment of Glenbeigh alumni. In the first year, ACORN Food Dependency Recovery Services held 34 weekend retreats up and down the East Coast of the United States. Soon it was discovered that some of those in relapse needed more intense work, so Mr. Werdell developed a five-day residential food addiction workshop which replicated the first days of treatment for those not needing hospitalization or direct medical supervision. Since 1995, the ACORN Primary Intensive© has been offered in twenty states, Canada, Europe, and the Middle East. Mr. Werdell was the key founder of the Food Addiction Institute (FAI), a non-profit organization committed to the mission of healing all food addicts. He helped develop the website and created a three-year experiential Food Addiction Professional Treatment Program. He has written several books on food addiction. His clinical protocol is derived from Mr. Werdell's work at Glenbeigh Psychiatric Hospital and was redesigned by him as part of the ACORN intense five-day workshop. He has been abstinent from his binge foods and maintained his 80-pound weight loss since 1986.
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