Psychological addiction is much more complex than physical addiction, because it has to do with our mind.
The difficulty is not only the complexity of our minds but also the lack of knowledge about most of the processes that take place there.
We all are different, so we respond differently to external stimuli. For some of us, food can have a palliative effect when we are depressed or in trouble. Other people won’t be able to eat anything under those situations.
However, most of us tend to think that food help us when we feel down. Food is also associated to a pleasant night out, an afternoon movie, a happy breakfast, or any such merry occasion.
Well, it is true that food provides us with some pleasure, and we enjoy it. The problem is when we associate food with those feelings. And if we can't get "the real thing", we get food instead.
But food is not giving us a pleasant night out unless we have a good partner or friend to enjoy the night, or a good movie, or music, or a good restaurant. If we are not happy with what we have, food is not going to add any more happiness.
A chocolate bar will give us instant pleasure while we are eating it, but that happiness will vanish as soon as the bar is finished.
The problem with psychological addiction is that we are not aware of what is going on.
With physical addiction, the moment we don’t feed the addictive substance to our organism, we can physically feel the withdrawal experience and become aware of what is going on.
With psychological addiction, we don’t really feel anything, but the instant pleasure of it, so we think we are happy or unhappy because of that, and it can lead to a real obsession.
We need to recognize and accept that food will not give us anything we don’t have.
If we are happy with our lives, a good meal will add pleasure to it. If we feel miserable, we will feel the same way after we eat a huge burger, lasagna, a candy bar, a doughnut, or a bag of chips.
We have to recognize that happiness comes from inside, not from whatever enters our mouths. Once we have truly accepted this reality, we will be able to stop having so many cravings for unhealthy food.