It is a common misconception that eating disorders stem from negative body image alone. There are many things that can contribute to the development of an eating disorder, but one of the most common contributing factors is unresolved trauma.
Because of this, many people suffering with an eating disorder also show symptoms of PTSD.
While we don’t know exactly why trauma is correlated with the development of eating disorders, we do know that trauma disrupts the nervous system and makes it difficult to manage emotions. This can lead people to turn to disordered eating behaviors or substance abuse to deal with their feelings. Also, there is some overlap in the symptoms of PTSD and eating disorders. For example, people with PTSD and eating disorders can experience dissociation.
While there are several types of trauma that can precede an eating disorder, sexual trauma is very common.
The presence of sexual trauma can cause people to develop negative body and self-image. This is not to say that if there is trauma in someone’s life they will definitely develop an eating disorder.
It is important to seek help for trauma and eating disorders as soon as possible. Trauma can lead to the development of several psychological and physical problems when left untreated, and untreated eating disorders can be deadly. PTSD and eating disorders can be treated at the same time depending on the severity of the eating disorder.
Many eating disorder professionals are equipped to treat both trauma and eating disorders. It is important to find a therapist that is a good fit for you. There is hope, and you do not have to go through this alone.
Written by: Elizabeth Kraich Curlee