Richard Osman health: Pointless host opens up on ‘difficult journey’ with addiction

Richard Osman discusses his future on Pointless

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Osman spoke openly on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs about his addiction which he has had therapy for in the past. He described it as an issue that doesn’t have the “doomed glamour” of drugs and alcohol.

The Pointless host has a food addiction.

He describes it as “identical” to the experience of being addicted to alcohol and drugs with the “secrecy of consuming these things, the shame behind it.”

He said: “If an alcoholic came to my house they would be shocked to see bottles of gin and bottles of wine, completely untouched,” Osman said. “

“Because an alcoholic couldn’t have that in their house.

“And if I came to your house and there were crisps or chocolate bars untouched in the fridge, I’d be like, ‘What? How are they untouched?’ – if I’m going through an episode.

“Food is a tricky one, because booze and drugs you can just give up. [It is] unbelievably difficult but [with] a zero tolerance policy.

“Whereas if you’re addicted to food or to love or all these things that are sustaining, you do still have to have them, and so it’s quite a hard one to work your way out of.”

One in two people who seek weight loss support are compulsive eaters–roughly 12 million people in the UK, according to the National Centre for Eating Disorders.

Similar to alcohol and drug addictions, there are addiction management programmes, such as Overeaters Anonymous, designed to help people with compulsive eating.

Typically, the causes of compulsive eating and binge eating include having a family history of eating disorders, depression and other addictions.

It may be also be bought on if you have anxiety, low self-esteem or an obsessive personality, or you’ve been sexually assaulted, suggests the NHS.

On the programme, Osman spoke about feeling directionless despite his television career and having a family with children.

He sought professional help for his mental health, including for his problem with food.

He said: “I’m either controlling it or not controlling it at any given time, and these days I control it more often than I don’t.

“But it’s actually quite hard and sometimes you do slip, but I try my best and I certainly have no shame about it now.”

He also rallied people with issues of “overeating” to never give up against the issue.

“Listen, we all have something that gets us through life and you know if that’s yours, then we have to face it head on,” he added.

“It’s just not being so afraid of life and afraid of what will happen if you put yourself out there.”

“That’s a difficult journey and it doesn’t come naturally to me, but the more I try it, the happier I get,” said the presenter.

Osman talked about his childhood and the shock of his father leaving the home when Richard was nine.

He said he “shut himself down” in response.

If you are worried about having an eating addiction, there are resources out there to help you.

The charity Beat has a support line which you can call for any eating disorders.

If you are from England, the contact number is: 0808 801 0677.

Other contact numbers are available on their website.

They also offer a one-to-one webchat for when the lines are busy which can also be found on their website.

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