Over the past twenty-five years I have seen many people struggling with pain management who use food as a comfort or coping tool. Some of these people had a coexisting addictive disorder that they put into remission and were doing a good job with their pain management until they crossed over into using food compulsively or addictively. Many of them would put on weight and that would start sabotaging their pain management, which would eventually lead to inappropriate medication use once again. At some point they needed to make a decision to look at their relationship with eating.
It is very important when you are confronted with a decision to make a significant lifestyle change that you carefully weigh the pros and cons (i.e., benefits and disadvantages) of making that transition. It is easy for many people who have been eating addictively to see the disadvantages or negative consequences of that behavior (i.e., obesity, heart problems, joint problems, etc.). Therefore, it is often difficult to admit that they mistakenly believe there is a benefit to eating addictively—in this case to help cope with their chronic pain condition.
Some people use eating to cope with uncomfortable emotions or to deal with the consequences of having poor social skills and lack of friendships. Others use eating to avoid intimacy by making food their best friend. There must be some benefits to your eating inappropriately or you wouldn’t have started eating to cope instead of for fuel. These benefits are sometimes called secondary gains. Being open to seeing that this may be a problem is the first step toward change. That is why I published the Food Addiction Recovery and Relapse Prevention Workbook in 2000 to help people with these problems.
In early 2008 I decided that the focus and name of the original relapse prevention protocol needed to be changed. I asked a colleague, Dr. Shari Stillman-Corbitt the Clinical Director of Sierra Tucson, to collaborate with me on a new project—The Eating Addiction Relapse Prevention Workbook—that will be published by the Fall of 2008. Please go to our Contact Page to sign up for our free Addiction-Free Pain Management® Chronic Pain Solutions E-Newsletter that will announce when this book is available.
Although the primary purpose of this new workbook is to help this population develop a recovery and relapse prevention plan and create a schedule of activities to assist that goal, Dr. Corbitt and I believe that patients must first develop a definition of abstinence that can work for them. It is also critical to develop an effective recovery plan or what we call a Healthy Living Plan, which is life enhancing. Therefore, The Eating Addiction Relapse Prevention Workbook is designed to increase patients’ knowledge and understanding of the nature of eating addiction.
To learn more about chronic pain management please check out our website at www.addiction-free.com and go to our Publications page and check out my latest book The Addiction-Free Pain Management® Recovery Guide: Second Edition. If you want to learn about coping with coexisting disorders to avoid relapse you can find my article Relapse Prevention and Chronic Pain Management that you can download for free on our Ariticles page.
To check out our July Chronic Pain Solutions Newsletter please click here.