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Sugar Addiction Recovery & Treatment

Sugar addiction is a real and serious problem. The vast majority of Americans consume more sugar than they should. 

While sugar may not be as addictive as drugs or alcohol, it can still lead to cravings, binges, and other difficult-to-control behaviors. 

However, there are a number of treatment options available for sugar addiction, and the best approach may vary depending on the individual. 

Treatment typically involves some combination of lifestyle changes, counseling, and support groups.

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Sugar Addiction Treatment Information

Sugar addiction is a real and serious problem. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, sugar addiction is a “process addiction” that can lead to compulsive overeating and other negative health consequences. 

The good news is that there are treatment options available for sugar addiction. Many binge eating disorder centers exclusively focus on eating-related disorders, like sugar.

The most effective approach is a comprehensive one that addresses both the physical and psychological aspects of the addiction. 

1st Step: Detox from Sugar

This can be a difficult and uncomfortable process, but it is essential in order to break the addiction. Many of the foods we consume have sugar, so it’s best to choose sugar-free options while shopping.

2nd Step: Begin Therapy

Once the detox is complete, the next step is to begin therapy to address the underlying issues that led to the addiction. A professional therapist can assist with pinpointing the contributing problem.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective approach for treating sugar addiction. This type of therapy helps individuals to identify and change the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to their addiction. Medication can also be used to treat sugar addiction. 

Common medications;
  • Antidepressants
  • Anti-anxiety medications
  • Anti-craving medications

There are a number of doctors who are now specializing in sugar addiction treatment. This type of binge eating disorder involves helping the person to break the addiction and then teaching them how to live without sugar. This can be a difficult process, but it is one that can be successful if the person is willing to work hard at it.

Sugar Cravings vs Illegal Drugs Cravings like Heroin

Studies have shown that sugar induces the same dopamine reaction in the brain as heroin. Sugar activates the reward center in the brain, causing a person to feel pleasure. This pleasure is short-lived, however, and leads to a person wanting more and more sugar. As a person consumes more sugar, they develop a tolerance, meaning they need more and more to feel the same effect. This can lead to addiction and serious health problems.

Sugar Has Similar Chemical Substance Abuse in the Brain as Illegal Drug Addiction

Sugar has a chemical process on the brain that can lead to hyperactivity, anxiety, and even depression. When sugar is consumed, it causes a release of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is associated with pleasure and reward. This release of dopamine can lead to a feeling of euphoria. However, the body quickly adapts to this sugar high and the person can come crashing down, leading to feelings of anxiety and depression.

Serotonin and Dopamine Relation to Sugar Cravings

Serotonin is also released in response to sugar consumption. Serotonin is associated with feelings of happiness and contentment, while dopamine is associated with the feeling of pleasure. Sugar consumption leads to the release of both of these neurotransmitters, which leads to the feeling of pleasure that is often associated with eating sugary foods. 

The release of these neurotransmitters in response to sugar consumption can lead to a number of different brain processes, including the reinforcement of the desire to consume more sugar. This reinforcement can lead to a vicious cycle of binge eating high sugar foods, as the individual consumes more artificial sweeteners and sugar in order to feel the pleasurable effects of the neurotransmitters. Over time, this cycle can lead to addiction and other related problems.

How Does Sugar Cravings and Alcohol Addiction Relate

When someone is addicted to alcohol, they are also likely to be addicted to sugar. This is because both substances cause a release of dopamine in the brain, which gives the person a feeling of pleasure. 

Sugar cravings can be a major trigger for someone who is trying to quit drinking alcohol. The cravings can make the person feel like they need to drink in order to get the same feeling of pleasure that they get from sugar. This can make it very difficult to stick to an alcohol-free lifestyle. 

If you are struggling with sugar cravings and alcohol addiction, it is important to seek help from a professional. They can help you find ways to deal with your cravings and develop a plan to stay sober.

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Don't go through the process of recovery alone. There are people who can help you with the struggle you're facing. Get in touch with one today.

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Bad Sugar vs Good Sugar

The scientific term for bad sugar is “fructose.” Fructose is a simple sugar that is found in many foods, including fruits, vegetables, and honey. It is also used as a sweetener in many processed foods and drinks. Fructose is absorbed more slowly than other sugars, and can cause a build-up of fat in the liver.

Examples of “bad sugar”:

  • Soda
  • Candy
  • Cake
  • Cookies
  • Pie
  • Doughnuts
  • Pastries
  • Ice cream
  • Chocolates (Certain types of chocolates are healthy)
  • Syrup
  • Jam
  • Jelly
  • Molasses
  • Beer
  • Wine
  • Fruit juice
  • Sports drinks
  • Energy drinks
  • Cereal
  • Granola
  • Oatmeal
  • Pancakes
  • Waffles

Typically, “good sugar” refers to monosaccharides and oligosaccharides, which are simple sugars that are easily absorbed and metabolized by the body. These sugars are found naturally in fruits, vegetables, and honey. Other types of sugars, such as those found in sucrose (table sugar) and corn syrup, are considered “bad sugars” because they are complex sugars that are difficult for the body to break down.

Examples of “bad sugar”:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Oats
  • Grains
  • Sucrose
  • Glucose
  • Fructose
  • Maltose
  • Dextrose
  • Honey
  • Molasses
  • Agave nectar

Clues a Person Has Sugar Addiction

A sugar addiction can manifest in many ways, including;

  • Intense craving for junk foods
  • Difficulty resisting foods with added sugar
  • Eating too much sugar foods despite negative consequences
  • Feeling irritable or creating coping mechanisms to deal with withdrawal symptoms when sugar is not consumed\
  • Hoarding high sugar foods
  • Hiding sweet snacks
  • Bingeing on far too much sugar

Risks of Consuming too Much Hidden Sugar

The potential health effects of consuming too much sugar include weight gain, tooth decay, diabetes, and high blood pressure. When it gets to that point, a person needs help.

Sugar and Emotional Eating

Sugar and emotional eating are often closely related. When we feel down, stressed, or bored, we may turn to sugary foods for a quick pick-me-up. However, this can lead to a vicious cycle of mood swings and sugar cane cravings. Moreover, emotional eating can lead to weight gain and health problems over time.

Childhood Trauma

Some people eat to replace bad feelings and use food to self-medicate. Sometimes due to childhood trauma. For example, if someone grew up poor in an abusive household where they could not eat much food, when they got older and started living for themselves, they might overeat and consume too much sugar as a mental replacement for the eating they did not do when younger.

In this case, when these people are stressed, frustrated, mad, and helpless, unhealthy eating is a way to get dopamine to fire.

Self Medication

Self-medication is the act of using a substance to relieve symptoms or address issues without the supervision of a medical professional. It can also refer to using a substance in a way that is not intended by the manufacturer, such as using alcohol to help with sleep or using a stimulant to counteract the effects of a depressant.

Signs of Sugar Withdrawal

  • Anxiety
  • Cravings
  • Depression
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Restlessness
  • Shakiness
  • Sweating 
  • Trouble sleeping

How to Quit Sugar Addiction

There is no easy answer for quitting sugar addiction. However, some resources that may be helpful include: books, online articles, and counseling.

Also, eating healthy can assist with food addiction and quitting cold turkey: Whole fruits, vegetables, yogurt, whole grains, nuts, seeds, lean protein, leafy vegetables.

Additionally, leading a healthy lifestyle can help: Drink plenty of water, get enough rest, and exercise.

  1. Find a replacement: Instead of sugary snacks, try healthier options like fruit, nuts, or yogurt.
  2. Change your habits: If you typically eat sugary foods as a way to cope with stress or boredom, find new coping mechanisms that don’t involve food.
  3. Get active: Exercise releases endorphins that can help to alleviate withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
  4. Stay hydrated: Drinking water can help to flush sugar out of your system and help to reduce cravings.
  5. Avoid trigger foods: If there are certain foods that trigger your sugar cravings, do your best to avoid them..


Sugar Addiction Anonymous: A 12-step fellowship for those who identify as sugar addicts.

The Sugar Freedom Program: A 12-week online coaching program that helps people overcome sugar addiction. 

The Sugar Detox: A 3-day detox program that helps people break their sugar addiction.

The 30-Day Sugar Detox: A 30-day program that helps people give up sugar for good.

Overeaters Anonymous 

Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous 

Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders 

Eating Disorder Anonymous

National Eating Disorder Association

Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment of Eating Disorders 

Academy for Eating Disorders

American Health Association

Get Help Today

Don't go through the process of recovery alone. There are people who can help you with the struggle you're facing. Get in touch with one today.

Make a Call


In conclusion, sugar addiction treatment can be difficult, but it is possible. There are many different approaches that can be taken, and it is important to work with a professional who can help you figure out the best approach for you. With the right treatment, you can overcome your sugar addiction and live a healthier life.

Sugar addiction is a real phenomenon, and it’s one that shares similarities with other, more well-known addictions. Like heroin, cocaine, and alcohol addiction, sugar addiction leads to cravings and a need for more and more of the substance to get the same “high.” Over time, sugar addiction can lead to physical and psychological dependence, and withdrawal symptoms when sugar is cut out. Sugar addiction can also lead to other health problems, just like other addictions, and it can be just as hard to overcome.

If you or someone you know is struggling with sugar addiction, it is important to seek professional help. There are many resources available to help you overcome this addiction, and you should not hesitate to seek out treatment. Sugar addiction is a serious issue, and it is important to get help as soon as possible.

Call an addiction treatment center to help with drug or alcohol abuse and sugar addiction. There are specific treatment providers for addictive substances.

The toll free numbers above will assist.

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