Is Obesity An Addiction?

Published by John Gillen | Last updated: 3rd April 2023 | All Sources

Is Obesity An Addiction?

In England alone, it is estimated that 28% of adults are classed as obese.

Although many believe that obesity stems from lifestyle choices, others argue that obesity could be considered an addiction.

If you have recently found yourself asking “is obesity an addiction?”, here at Cassiobury Court, we have delved into the causes of obesity to determine whether obesity is an addiction.


Causes Of Obesity

Before determining if obesity is an addiction, it is imperative to review the most common causes of obesity.  While various common misconceptions state that obesity stems from overeating and a lack of physical activity, several other factors can influence whether an individual will become obese.

In addition to overeating and lack of physical activity, causes of obesity include, but are not limited to the following;

  • Genetics
  • Underlying medical conditions
  • Compulsive behaviours
  • Eating disorders

In order to determine whether obesity is an addiction, the causes of obesity must be examined in much greater detail.

As it is scientifically proven that an increase in the amount of food consumed paired with a decrease in physical activity will automatically put an individual at risk of becoming obese, below, we have delved into genetics, underlying medical conditions, compulsive behaviours and eating disorders.



While it is already understood that obesity stems from various factors, across the world, multiple studies have been conducted to identify the correlation, if any, between obesity and genetics.

Findings presented by studies conducted in America have uncovered that genetics are 40-70% likely to contribute to the likelihood that individuals will become obese at some point in their lives.

It should be noted that the genetics that contribute to the risk of obesity do not directly determine whether an individual will become obese.

Instead, genetics increase the probability that an individual will be subject to excess weight gain, increased hunger levels, reduced satiety and tendency to store body fat.

However, environmental and behavioural influences can reduce an individual’s odds of becoming obese.


Underlying Medical Conditions

Underlying medical conditions and some medications can also put an individual at risk of becoming obese.  Medical conditions are also likely to arise if an individual is obese.

The NHS confirms that medical conditions such as underactive thyroids, over-production of steroid hormones and polycystic ovary syndrome can see an individual more prone to becoming obese.

In addition, medications prescribed for mental health disorders, epilepsy and diabetes can see an individual more prone to weight gain.

However, with the correct medical support, the risk of obesity linked with medical conditions can be reduced.



Overconsumption of food plays a large role in whether or not an individual is clinically classified as obese.  However, research highlights that in many cases, overconsumption of food leads to the development of compulsive behaviours, including compulsive overeating and binge eating disorders.


Compulsive Overeating

Although many fail to realise it, compulsive overeating is not a lifestyle choice.  Similarly to how drug and alcohol addictions see those suffering succumb to pessimistic thoughts and feelings, individuals who struggle with compulsive overeating will also find themselves victim to the vicious cycle that compulsive overeating imposes.

In the United Kingdom, it is believed that compulsive overeating impairs the lives of 12 million adults.  Sadly, just as individuals struggling with drug and alcohol addictions will defer help, those living with compulsive overeating disorders will too.  This is often due to shame, guilt, worries regarding assumptions formed by others and lack of knowledge regarding the available treatment.

Sadly, when left untreated compulsive overeating will gradually cause an individual to become overweight or obese.


Binge Eating Disorder

Similarly to compulsive overeating, binge eating disorders also put an individual at greater risk of becoming obese.  Recognised as a severe mental health disorder, binge eating impairs the lives of 22% of individuals in the United Kingdom each year.

Just as other mental health and eating disorders see individuals subject to unwanted thoughts and feelings, binge eating disorders see those struggling unable to control their thoughts and behaviours.

This regrettably causes them to eat large quantities of food and hide how much food they consume from others.  Gradually, as touched on above, this puts those struggling with binge eating disorders at risk of becoming obese and suffering from the health risks associated with obesity.


Is Obesity a Form of Addiction in the UK?

Having determined the various factors that often lead to obesity in the United Kingdom, it could be argued that obesity is indeed a form of addiction, especially when considering compulsive overeating and binge eating disorders.

As discussed above, individuals struggling with compulsive overeating and binge eating disorders will find themselves subject to the vicious cycle and patterns that addictions often impose on those living with drug and alcohol addictions.

Without professional support and treatment, compulsive disorders and eating disorders are virtually impossible to overcome.  Over time, they will become almost unbearable and will put individuals at risk of becoming obese.


Treatment Required For Addictions

Having concluded that obesity could indeed be classified as an addiction, it is essential to understand the treatment that is required and readily available via our private residential rehab located in Watford.

At Cassiobury Court, we provide rehabilitation to individuals struggling with obesity by combining food and meal planning with psychological and well-being therapies and activities.

Combined, our treatments aim to reduce body weight and educate those struggling with obesity to ensure they can turn their life around and secure a healthy future.

If you have found yourself struggling with a compulsive or binge eating disorder, you must seek treatment.  Failure to do so could put your life at risk.


Contact Us Today

If you find yourself struggling with obesity, compulsive overeating or binge eating disorder, please do not hesitate to contact us today.

With our help, we guarantee that you will have the ability to overcome your struggles and make suitable changes to your lifestyle to preserve your health.

If you would like to find out more about our treatment, please call us on 01923 369 161.  Alternatively, email


John Gillen

John Gillen - Author Last updated: 3rd April 2023

John Gillen is a leading addiction treatment expert with over 15 years of experience providing evidence-based treatment methods for individuals throughout the UK. John also co-authors the book, The Secret Disease of Addiction, which delves into how the addictive mind works and what treatment techniques work best.