A narrative review of potential treatment strategies for food addiction

  • Shae-Leigh C. VellaEmail author
  • Nagesh B. Pai
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Food and Addiction


The concept of food addiction (FA) remains controversial with research being in the nascent stages; FA like any addiction can have a devastating impact on the lives of those afflicted. There exists a clinical need for treatment strategies for those affected. This article reviews potential treatment strategies for FA. The treatment strategies target four core behaviours of the addiction phenotype specifically craving through the opioid system, impulsivity as a personality trait, compulsivity through the serotonergic system and lastly motivation through the dopaminergic system. A range of pharmacological and psychological interventions are reviewed. Future research should seek to test and validate the proposed clinical treatment strategies.


Food addiction Treatment Addiction phenotype Craving Impulsivity Compulsivity Motivation 


Compliance with ethical standards


This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest report.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate Medicine, School of MedicineUniversity of WollongongWollongongAustralia
  2. 2.Wollongong Hospital, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health DistrictWollongongAustralia

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