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Cravings - Chocolate addict

          The subject was a 60-year-old female who wrote into the Dr. Phil Show asking for a way to resolve her “addiction” to chocolate. The interview revealed a person who had dedicated her life completely to chocolate professionally and personally. Having trained as an accountant, she decided to change her life to “give something to others.” She found herself as the “Chocolate Chef” professionally by preparing foods with chocolate as a specialty.

          It was noted that she loved to make other people happy, and she chose her trade for that purpose by giving chocolate treats away to neighbors and friends. Chocolate became her obsession for social, financial and personal reasons.

          Dr. Phil laid down the principle that if she is seriously concerned she needed to stop her business and her nurturing behavior with chocolate. She took his advice seriously and had stopped her behavior, quit her job, and moved all the chocolate ingredients from her home. When she showed up for therapeutic intervention, she had increased her obsession and reported that she could not get chocolate off her mind.


Method

          The psychodynamics of the social reinforcement and personal motivation were discussed with her along with some introduction to biofeedback-assisted relaxation. Her finger temperature was in the middle 70s, but learned she could relax with imagery. Unfortunately, the imagery she used was floating in a bathtub filled with chocolate.

          After asking her to balance the sounds coming from the separate earphones and adjusting the volume for comfort, the following transcript reflects the interaction:

          TH: “It seems that chocolate has really rules your life and serves as a relaxation response. I imagine that you really use it for your anxiety as well as positive interactions with others.”

          S: “That is true, and I really obsess on since I can’t have any now.”

          TH: “I bet you have a lot of resentment.”

          S: “You got that right.”

          TH: “So where do you feel the most tension in your body when you have the most cravings?”

          S: “That is easy because I am craving chocolate pretty hard now. It is right in my belly.”

          TH: “So could you sing a tone to that place right now?”

          S: “Sure, it would sound like this.” (demonstrates)

          TH: “Could you turn this knob so your belly could hear it?”

          Subject adjusts the knob and turns it off. “Well that was easy.”

          TH: “Okay, now I want you to turn it back on and make your cravings so high you can’t stand it much. When you do that, I want you to turn this knob and erase them so you can’t feel them anymore.”

          S: Subject slowly turns the device on and with a skeptical look at me; she closes her eyes and turns the knob. Within thirty seconds she is looking me with a puzzling look.  She kept staring at me and slowly shaking her head. Finally she spoke. “It’s gone. I am free. It is like a weight has been taken off of me. But how …”


Discussion

          Follow-up with this subject continues to exist and at six months she reported she has had no cravings of chocolate. She has started a project for recipes for mental health and intelligence. Connected with a national leader in nutrition, she is setting up consultation around the probable publication of her “brain fuel.”


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Last Modified : 03/02/09 11:32 PM