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Connecting Eating Disorders And Trauma
The end of February sees the start of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week (NEDAW), hosted by the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA). Every year, NEDA puts together a plethora of information on eating disorders as local groups organize marches and walks to raise awareness about eating disorders. “30 million Americans will struggle with a full-blown eating disorder,” states the NEDAW website, “and millions more will battle food and body image issues that have untold negative impacts on their lives.” Eating disorders can include:

  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Bulimia Nervosa
  • Binge Eating Disorder
  • Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder
  • Other Eating Disorder
  • ARFID (Avoidant Restrictive Food Intake Disorder)
  • Orthorexia

…And often, Body Dysmorphic Disorder is categorized with eating disorders.

Where Trauma and Eating Disorders Overlap

According to an article on the NEDA website about PTSD and eating disorders, most men and women with either anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder have a history of trauma. “Approximately one-third of women with bulimia, 20% with binge eating disorder and 11.8% with non-bulimic/non-binge eating disorders met criteria for lifetime PTSD,” the article cites.

Eating disorders are more common in people who experience trauma and PTSD. In another area of the website discussing trauma and eating disorders, NEDA cites that 30% of men and women who have an eating disorder experienced sexual abuse in their life. Eating disorders as a manifestation of sexual trauma is common.

Read More: How To Handle “Body Talk” When You’re In Eating Disorder Recovery

Trauma can include a variety of circumstances experienced in life, like neglect, sexual abuse of any kind, emotional abuse, and physical abuse, as well as forms of bullying. These kinds of traumas can create a complex association of shame with the self, the body, and image.

Eating disorders can feel like a way for individuals who have experienced trauma to maintain control in some area of their life, dissociate from painful memories and feelings, or to punish/protect the self. Rarely are eating disorders purely a manifestation of problematic eating because eating disorders have little to do with eating, food, weight, or size. Underneath the service is a complex pathology of life experiences and traumas needing to be healed.

Getting Help For Trauma & Eating Disorders

If you are struggling with an eating disorder as a result of trauma in your life, you are not alone. You can recover because help is available. The Guest House Ocala specializes in the treatment of trauma, addictions, and related mental health issues, providing you with concierge-style customized care to meet your every need. For information, call us today: 1-855-483-7800