Trauma and eating disorders can be closely linked, because people respond to emotional trauma in very unique ways. No two people are exactly alike in how they act, respond, and cope after a traumatic event. For some people, life-disturbing eating disorders and trauma are connected. The effects of trauma can be obvious, or hidden from the victim and the family. There is one thing that we know for sure - trauma is held in the body and revealed through the brain body emotion and eating disorders alter the brain body emotions.
Research supports that trauma may manifest itself as an eating disorder for coping with very painful experiences and emotions. Also, the trauma can be the result of having an eating disorder, in that, children and young adults who have poor self-esteem and poor body image, are often bullied in school or seen as week in the eyes of a sexual predator or abuser.
Bulimia, has been connected to trauma as a means of self-protection. The binge/purge cycle of behaviors seem to reduce awareness of thoughts and emotions as a means of escaping from several of the emotions that may accompany traumatic experiences.
Treatment of individuals suffering from an eating disorder should receive care for both his/her eating disorder, as well as, his/her traumatic experiences. If the trauma is not addressed during the treatment of an eating disorder, successful recovery will be extremely difficult. The discloser of traumatic events must be received with compassion and understanding, not just by the therapists, but the family as well, if we are to see true recovery.
Eating disorders can develop when people experiencing trauma don't have the social support needed to help process the event properly. Or they may refuse help, or even recognize that help is needed following a trauma. For others, they may never realize how deeply they are affected by a traumatic event, or that the symptoms of eating disorders and trauma are linked.
Eating Disorder with Trauma
Examples of trauma that can lead to an eating disorder:
Physical assault or witnessing violence
Emotional abuse and bullying
Sexual abuse and rape
Accidental deaths of a love one
Loss experiences, such as loss of a home or job
Natural disasters such as earthquakes and tornados
Events of war
Abandonment as a child
Have you been stressed trying to solve your problems?
Do you feel overwhelmed?
You don’t have to do it alone….Let us help.
Often it isn’t the initiating trauma that creates seemingly insurmountable pain, but the lack of support after.
We don’t heal in isolation, but in community. -S. Kelley Harrell