Is food addiction a valid phenomenon through the lens of the DSM-5?



Publication Details

Pai, N., Vella, S. & Richardson, K. (2014). Is food addiction a valid phenomenon through the lens of the DSM-5?. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 48 (3), 216-218.


Recent literature has seen a rise in interest in the phenomenon of food addiction. Nolan (2013) highlighted that Medline has had a sevenfold increase in the number of papers indexed by the term food addiction since 2008. However, a lack of consensus regarding the entity of food addiction and whether it constitutes a 'true' and valid addiction pervades. Clearly the ideology of food addiction and its accompanying nosological status (if such a status should exist) has vast implications. Especially in the context of the current global epidemic of overweight and obesity with its associated health, psychological, economic and social consequences, as logically food addiction would be a significant aetiological factor fuelling this epidemic (Lindberg, et al., 2011). This viewpoint seeks to briefly highlight the debate regarding whether food addiction is a 'true' and valid addiction, through the lens of the recently released DSM-5 (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Firstly, the status of food addiction as a 'true' addiction in relation to the DSM-5 generally will be discussed, before moving on to a discussion of food addiction in relation to the nosology of substance use.

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