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Co-occurring disorders are pervasive with people who have suffered from trauma. A co-occurring disorder means that a person is battling two (or more) disorders that need to be treated at the same time, but with different methods. The various methods will give the individual a chance to recover from both. When mental health issues and addiction overlap, people can find themselves in a precarious situation without getting the appropriate treatment they need.

Someone who has an eating disorder may also find that they need to receive assistance for their post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). To disassociate themselves from their trauma, they will use an eating disorder to forget and avoid the pain. Due to the brain’s development being stunted by their trauma, an individual will engage in risky behaviors, such as an eating disorder, to create an outlet to release the affliction they are feeling.

What Trauma Determines

Trauma is defined as an emotional and psychological response to a distressing, disturbing, or abusive situation. There is a specific correlation between trauma and eating disorders because the behavior is meant to self-protect from the agony one feels. Without positive coping mechanisms to offset the trauma, one will adapt to using an eating disorder to reduce any awareness as to what they experienced. Rather than feel the feelings, they will use their eating disorder to fill the void. 

What an Eating Order Provides

A common misconception about eating disorders is that food is the problem. An eating disorder encompasses the need to be in control of their life. Due to the inability to be in control when the trauma occurs, a person will subconsciously try to make sure that they do not become helpless again by controlling their food intake. Ironically, an eating disorder is about being in control, but a person actually starts losing control because an eating disorder is a progressive illness that becomes worse over time. The more individuals suppress their trauma, the more likely they are to binge eat, binge and purge, or struggle with anorexia. 

Treatment is essential to gain perspective on the pain that is being endured and what can be accomplished in recovery. Identifying the emotions associated with the trauma can help a person understand why they use their eating disorder to hide their pain. Once the feelings behind the actions are uncovered, then the process of treatment for an eating disorder can start to take place. 


At The Guest House Ocala, we offer residential treatment programs specialized for the care of traumas, addictions, and related mental health issues. Call us today for information on our trauma treatment programs and our concierge-style customization for every guest at (855) 483-7800.