Hunger Pains

While I sit here snacking on saltine crackers — which aren’t doing anything for my hunger — I began to think about hunger pains.

Have you ever been so hungry that it caused physical pain? I’ve gone days without eating, and sure, a growling stomach is unpleasant, but is it pain? Considering the levels of my daily pain, hunger pains really don’t count.

But think about this…

What if your hunger was not for food, but for drugs? Just like with food, we’re talking about a painful, daily hunger, which is never really satisfied.

How many of us would be able to turn down food, especially when we’re hungry? How many of those who suffer from addiction can turn down drugs?

When you read about hunger pains, just exchange the food for drugs, and you’ll probably have a small understanding of what it’s like to suffer from drug addiction.

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/hunger-pangs

http://www.wisegeek.org/what-are-hunger-pains.htm

The most common origin of hunger pains is the fact that the individual has not consumed food or drink for an extended period of time. Muscle contractions begin to occur when the stomach has been empty for several hours. As the contractions take place, the sensation may be somewhat unpleasant and interpreted as painful…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2005983/Why-biscuit-Doctors-reveal-science-hunger-pangs–them.html

We basically feel hungry if our fat levels drop or the stomach is empty. That hungry feeling is caused by the brain triggering the release of a hormone called ghrelin…  Another major signalling system is the vagus nerve that links the gut to the brain…

‘Studies looking at the sensory part of the brain being activated by food have found it is not as active in obese people — so theoretically they would have to consume more food to get the same pleasure as someone else.’ This could help explain why they are driven to eat more…

Professor O’Rahilly adds: ‘Generally, fat people are fat because their brains are wired differently and make them feel hungry all the time. It’s very hard not to listen to your appetite as it’s insistent and difficult to ignore.’ …

‘Although we may be born with a genetic predisposition for a large appetite, we can retrain the brain and teach ourselves to eat smaller portions and not snack,’ says Professor Zammit. ‘Obviously it takes great effort — the first day would be horrendous and the next few weeks very difficult but eventually we’d get used to it as the brain would make new connections.’ …

Dieting doesn’t mean that you stop eating food. Perhaps we should treat drug addiction the same way.

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6 thoughts on “Hunger Pains

  1. I agree with Derrick – that it is a good analogy. My mum was an alcoholic and mentally ill. She finally stopped taking heavy meds and alcohol but continued to drink an occasional glass of wine with a small dose of valium per day. I struggle very hard not to over medicate myself or drink to hard or eat! It’s a mammoth battle.

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  2. Of course abstinence is not the only way to treat drug addiction. In fact it has a poor track record at least with opiate addiction where maintenance with lower doses of the drug of choice seems to be the most effective strategy for minimizing harm. Abstinence looks good on paper, but some people need these drugs to feel normal, just like people in pain do. It is a myth that all addicts take opiates to get high.

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  3. It’s like “hair o’ the dog” – if you go out and binge drink for one night, you wake up feeling crap the next day… until you have another drink; your alcohol-blood levels balance out then, so you don’t feel so sick anymore.

    And yes, I remember hunger pains, from when I was younger, but that was only for about a month before I found work and a regular income again. Thinking on it now, I don’t know how those people in Sudan and Ethiopia coped with no food or water at all during the famines in the 80s – the unbelievable stuff that desperation made them do 😦 I guess in the context of your post, the desperation for drugs will also make some addicts do things they would never thought to have done before being addicts.

    And I watched this the other day – I can’t recall where I found it; may even have been you! It makes for interesting listening! https://www.ted.com/talks/johann_hari_everything_you_think_you_know_about_addiction_is_wrong?language=en#t-20162

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