There is a push to classify obesity as a brain disorder or disease.  Is this good or bad, I don’t know.  It could be good if it happens, because it really is just a furtherance of logic that will hopefully collapse in upon itself at some point.  Obesity itself isn’t a behavior, it is sort of a state of being, but it’s the behavior that the diseasers are targeting.  They’re saying that fat and sugar and salt reinforce consumption of foods that contain them within the brain, and that the obese person becomes unable to control consumption of foods containing these ingredients.  When I say it could be a good thing to classify it as a disease, I mean that it will bring us one step closer to realizing that the diseasing of behavior is a bunch of nonsense.  Eventually, when every single unfavorable/unhealthy pattern of behavior is labelled as a disease and medicalized, we’ll hit a point where either the term disease will become completely meaningless, or our culture will have to re-evaluate the use of the term, and reclaim behavior for what it is – freely chosen.

I found a blog post today that got me thinking about this.  Here’s an excerpt:

there is mounting evidence that food, or certain types of food, can trigger the same addictive effects in the brain as drugs like heroin and cocaine. There is also substantial evidence that some people lose control over their food consumption and exhibit other behaviors (e.g. tolerance, withdrawal) that may meet diagnostic criteria (see below) for substance dependence.

Then I did a little digging and found that the infamous Nora Volkow, head of the NIDA and main propagandist for the brain disease theory of addiction wrote a paper a few years back suggesting that Obesity be included in the newest edition of the DSM (the American Psychological Association’s bible of mostly specious mental disorders).  She uses the same flawed logic with which she pulls the brain disease of addiction con.  She says that “this condition is not only a metabolic disorder but also a brain disorder”, and:

Obesity is characterized by compulsive consumption of food and the inability to restrain from eating despite the desire to do so. These symptoms are remarkably parallel to those described in DSM-IV for substance abuse and drug dependence (Table 1), which has led some to suggest that obesity may be considered a “food addiction” (5).

I would like to see the evidence that consumption of food is compulsive, i.e. voluntary.  I assume that just as in the case for addiction as a compulsive behavior, there will be no evidence forthcoming.  I feel for people with obesity, just as I do for people experiencing addiction, and I think the two problems are similar in some ways, but I also think that neither are diseases.  What do you think?

Also, the other good point to this, is that if this view persists, it will decrease the reputation of drugs,  “sugar can do the same thing to the brain as crack?”, such questions will abound, create cognitive dissonance leading to skepticism about all the assumptions involved.  Keep diseasing every behavior, and you’ll make my case for me, Nora Volkow, you dimwit.

Share This