Addiction and Displacement Theory Presentation 4

Here are more details about Dr. Pretlow’s World Obesity Federation Conference presentation.

In talking about why overeating is often irresistible, he says,

It’s like something pushes a person to overeat or get drunk — It’s like a switch gets pulled in their brain. Like a tape plays, and the individual must go along with the tape until it stops running… The behavior doesn’t make sense to the person involved.

And even if one does understand certain aspects of one’s own behavior, there is no guarantee that it can be gotten rid of. To comprehend is fine, but as some believe, “That and a dime will get you a cup of coffee.” As Werner Erhard put it, “Understanding is the booby prize.”

No, what a person needs is a way to change. And often, it helps to do things in (what you have always believed is ) the reverse order. If somebody you respect says, “This works,” why not at least give it an honest try? And sometimes, not always but sometimes, what works is this: Do the things suggested by a trusted person, and you might get results; and then after a while, you may receive understanding.

But that part doesn’t really matter. To have positive results, without necessarily wrapping your head around it, is a better deal than an understanding that brings intellectual satisfaction, but does nothing to mend the damage.

Again, with the multifactorial

Plenty of people figure out how to disconnect that troublemaking switch, and there is more than one way to do it. There are nutrition programs, for instance, that seem able to affect the chemical factors that flip those treacherous brain switches (or let them be). Some people become Zen monks. Others walk 10,000 steps per day. Some answers work for some people, while others are effective for other demographics.

(Actually, Dr. Pretlow just happens to know of a way that is very promising for young people… more soon…)

But, back to the presentation. Like drunkenness and other addictive excesses, the symptomology of obesity-causing behavior includes actions and attitudes that do not suit the situation, and out-of-control behavior that brings down negative consequences. For these and other reasons, it seems to have been decided that obesity fits the definition of addiction.

Then, what naturally follows is the question: What causes addiction? Especially the kinds that do not involve chemicals.

Digression: But doesn’t every addiction necessarily include chemicals produced by one’s own body? Whether the chemicals are endogenous or exogenous, they are certainly present in, for instance, porn addiction, even if no substances are consumed. For the sake of discussion, it is sometimes necessary to separate other addictions from literal substance abuse.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: Source: Addiction and Displacement Theory Presentation,” Weigh2Rock, undated
Image by Owen Parrish/CC BY-SA 2.0

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OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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