Neural systems implicated in obesity as an addictive disorder: from biological to behavioral mechanisms (2016)

Prog Brain Res. 2016;223:329-46. doi: 10.1016/bs.pbr.2015.07.011. Epub 2015 Oct 23.

Schulte EM1, Yokum S2, Potenza MN3, Gearhardt AN4.


Contributing factors to obesity have been identified, yet prevention and treatment efforts have had limited long-term success. It has recently been suggested that some individuals may experience an addictive-like response to certain foods, such as losing control over consumption and continued consumption despite negative consequences. In support, shared biological and behavioral features seem to exist between “food addiction” and traditional substance-use disorders. “Food addiction” may be another important contributor to obesity. The current chapter reviews existing literature regarding neural systems implicated similarly in obesity and addiction, discusses unique considerations for addictive-like eating, and proposes directions for future research regarding “food addiction” as an emerging construct for addiction medicine.

KEYWORDS:  Addiction; Food addiction; Obesity; Reward; Substance dependence

PMID: 26806784