Is cheese as addictive as crack?

10 things to look for that will tell you whether or not you need cheese rehab.

Addiction criteria

According to the American Psychiatric Association, in order to be considered addicted in an opioid manner, at least two of these criteria need to be met within a 12-month period. The words “opioid” and “substance” have been replaced with “cheese” to help you assess whether or not your relationship with cheese is truly a problem and something that requires help or rehab:

  1. Eating the cheese in larger amounts or for longer time periods than you’re meant to.
  2. There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down on the cheese.
  3. A lot of time is spent trying to obtain the cheese, eat the cheese, or recover from the effects of the cheese.
  4. Craving or strong desire and urges to eat the cheese.
  5. Recurrent cheese use resulting in a failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home.
  6. Continued cheese use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused by or exacerbated by the effects of cheese.
  7. Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of cheese use.
  8. Recurrent cheese use in physically hazardous situations or continued cheese use despite knowing it’s caused problems.
  9. Increased tolerance: needing more and more cheese to reach intoxication.
  10. Observed withdrawal symptoms – including muscle aches, restlessness, anxiety, teary eyes, runny nose, excessive sweating, inability to sleep, rapid heart rate, diarrhea, dilated pupils, or vomiting – when not eating cheese.

Be careful when reading headlines.

Some online articles and even some research articles can contain misleading information based on premature conclusions. Some researchers and writers decide whether or not something is addictive based on symptoms observed when someone becomes abstinent and withdraws from the substance. If the person – or the rat (many addiction studies are done on rats rather than humans and the results are extrapolated to humans) – displays withdrawal symptoms, the conclusion is made that the substance is addictive.

Is it an addiction or a behavioral response?

Those who find truth in such a thing as the most addictive food list say that pizza is ranked pretty high. Here’s something else we know about pizza: it is off limits and forbidden in most – if not all – diets. It is normally considered unhealthy and “junk food”. Do you know what happens when we eat a forbidden food that we believe we must use restraint with? We overeat it. It’s called the Deprivation Backlash. The Deprivation Backlash occurs when we try not to eat something and both the mental rebellion that happens when we’re told we can’t have something and the missing of the food lead to overeating the food. The Deprivation Backlash is an extremely common phenomenon, and here’s the other thing that accompanies the backlash: the person who (naturally) overate in response to the deprivation believes it happened because they lack willpower and are addicted to the food. They remedy these feelings with renewed effort to abstain from the food again, but eventually the backlash hits again, and around and around they go.

I’ve been working with men and women who feel addicted to food for 15 years and I have not once heard anyone describe symptoms of addiction with cheese — this observation is anecdotal, I get that. But let’s be honest here – when you closely examine the reports of cheese addiction and subsequent claims made equating it with drug addiction, the science just isn’t there.