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E. Morton Jellinek—the man whose research provided the foundations for the Curve—is regarded as a major figure in both the emergence of the alcohol science movement as well as the modern alcoholism movement. Born in New York City in 1890, Jellinek was the son of Hungarian immigrants. He held a variety of occupations both here and abroad before landing a job as a biostatistician at Worcester State Hospital (Massachusetts) in 1931.
He entered the field of alcohol science in 1939 when he was asked to manage the Carnegie Project. This project was the first substantial grant that was won by the newly formed Research Council on the Problems of Alcohol (RCPA). A few years later, he went on to work for the Yale Center for Alcohol Research. Despite his inexperience in the field of alcohol research, Jellinek attempted to help define the role of science in relation to society and the use of alcohol within society.
The first signs of warning in the Jellinek curve are increased intake and tolerance to your preferred substance; be it food, wine or pills – and for many the tendency to start hiding their consumption.
Hiding your eating normally starts because the person eating is aware that it is already problematic, feels a great deal of shame – and maybe her closest relations have started to notice a weight gain or candy wrappers in the car and are reacting to this. The addiction has planted its roots.
In the Jellinek curve the following phase of food addiction is abusing food in everyday life. A step down the ladder from excessive use. This period is characterized by loss of control (a person suffering from Emotional Eating has a hard time stopping once they have started), problems in close relationships, at work, and mental challenges such as difficulties concentrating and finishing tasks.
The progressed abuse culminates in actual addiction where the physical, psychological and social problems seems to grow and grow. When we are not overeating we are dieting and obsessive thoughts and withdrawals increase, at this stage, suicidal thoughts are not unusual. Our consumption has entered such a negative spiral that we can not exit it without help!
First occurrences of overeating
Eats in hiding
Thoughts are focused on food
Eats quickly and/or chucks down first mouthfuls
Feels uncomfortable and/or totally in her element whilst talking about food, dinners, diets and restrictions.
Loss of control
Excuses and explanations
Comments from family or loved ones
Grandiose and superior behaviours
Prone to verbally attack and pick fights
Constant feeling of guilt
Changed eating patterns
Loss of relations
Has a hard time fulfilling tasks – maybe job loss
Visits to Doctors. Typically for weight related issues and/or anxiety and depression related problems.
Displays of anger
Creates a stash of hidden candies, cakes and/or chips
Overeats every day
Overeats/binges several days in a row
Breakdown of ethical values
Loss of concentration
Obsessing over food and dieting
Indeterminable feeling of fear and anxiety
Vague religious feelings can arise
Eats, drinks or shops to keep feelings at bay
Eating patterns roll in an evil spiral
Has no excuses left
Has no explanations left