Chocolate is made of the cocoa bean. The botanic name, Cocoa Theobroma, means ?food of the Gods?. The cocoa tree gives pods full of beans. Beans are removed and fermented. Dried beans are roasted and processed. The powered grain is the cocoa powder. Cocoa butter is made of bean fat. Chocolate candies are all based on some variants of cocoa butter, powder, sugar, milk and some other ingredients. Drugs present in cocoa powder makes chocolate addictive. The same chemicals have been found in coffee and tea, so these products are also thought of as addictive foods.
The love for chocolate appeared two thousands of years ago and it`s associated with the Aztec and the Mayan tribes. They were the first who started cultivating cocoa. Cocoa beans were considered to be a weak stimulant, an aphrodisiac and a source of energy. They were even used as money.
Nowadays chocolate has become the most craved food product in some parts of the world. Chocolate addiction has a physiological ground. Chocolate contains cannabinoid, this particular chemical produces euphoria caused by marijuana use. Theoretically a person can get a high after chocolate eating, but he/she must eat more than 10 kilos of this product to achieve it. And of course there is the psychological side of chocolate addiction. Smooth texture, sweet taste, wonderful aroma and melting quality are added to its charm.
The development of addiction involves a change from casual to compulsive patterns of chocolate eating. It is also accompanied by drug-induced alterations in the brain and changes in psychological sphere. According to some studies chocoholics consume about 10-12 bars of chocolate per week and they crave chocolate almost every day. They define chocoholia as a condition when a person feels a lack of control around chocolate and chocolate endorphins that change our mood for better.
Many chocolate addicts admit that they mostly eat in secret and feel negative emotions after consumption of chocolate. A chocoholic devoid of his favorite food experiences withdrawal symptoms. Thought it`s not that severe as of smokers and drug abusers and it lasts for about five days maximum. Post chocolate symptoms include depression, abdominal and joint pains, anxiety, mental agitation and headaches.
Chocolate also serves as a substitute for affection and love. Some chemicals contained in chocolate have arousing effect and they are thought to be one of the pleasure substances in our brain. Champion chocoholic of all time may have been Emperor Montezuma II who is said to consume fifty glasses of a sweetened chocolate drink each day and an extra glass before sex.
Chocolate addiction is socially acceptable but it`s not healthy. Many chocoholics become ill and obese. Besides chocolate addiction affects people`s psychological condition as they often feel depressed because of their inability to stop binging on chocolate. Psychological dependence is not only liking and preference of chocolate. It involves certain mental condition associated with disarrangements of normal functioning. Psychological dependence means sickness of mind characterized by excessive subjective preference of a certain kind of food. That`s why treatment of chocoholia must refer to both sides of chocolate addiction- the physiological and psychological ones.