Interview with Omar Manejwala, MD, Author of
Dr. Manejwala, a psychiatrist, is the senior vice president and chief medical officer of Catasys in Los Angeles and is the former medical director at Hazelden Foundation. Dr. Manejwala is a leading expert in addiction medicine and public speaker who addresses the topic of addiction and compulsive behaviors.
Rosenberg : Your book draws close parallels between cravings of an alcoholic or drug addict which can be life-threatening and cravings for food or exercise or sex in so-called normal people. You say both originate from similar parts of the brain and both can destroy lives.
Manejwala: Process addictions, addictions to behaviors, can wreak as much havoc as drugs and alcohols in people's lives as the examples in my book illustrate. A person can be so addicted to food and counting the calories and working them off at the gym, he or she is unavailable to family, friends and his or herself. I asked one patient how she would react to a clinical study that required her to temporarily stop exercising and she said she would drop out. Another way in which the addictions or cravings are similar is they aren't overcome by treating so-called "symptoms" but in outgrowing the symptoms and learning a new way of life.
Rosenberg: Is this similar to the recovery concept that addictions can not be overcome by the sheer force or willpower or a headlong assault?
Manejwala: Yes. There's a reason that most, if not all, diet books stress a new way of living and eating. Because the danger starts when you get to your correct weight and return to your old ways.