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Trauma and Eating Disorders: Is There A Connection?

Did you know that around 30 million Americans have suffered from an eating disorder at some point?


While there's still a lot of research that needs to be done on eating disorders, we've made lots of progress. What once carried the stigma of being vain and wanting to look a certain way is now known to be a complicated mental health issue.

Have you ever wondered if there's a connection between trauma and eating disorders like I have? Read on so you can learn all of the facts that have brought me clarity and will help you understand your own struggles as well.

Trauma and Eating Disorders: Setting the Stage

Have you ever noticed that lots of people use food as a coping mechanism? If someone has had a stressful day, their first thought may be to turn to a nice slice of chocolate cake or dig into a big bowl of pasta.

Although people have always used food to soothe themselves after minor inconveniences, some people go through bigger life events that can trigger unhealthier eating habits. You can think of disordered eating habits as an extension of a natural human behavior.

Childhood Trauma and Eating Disorders

Some children sadly don't get to experience the safe and loving environments that they deserve while growing up. Adults have more power to evade danger, but children are often helpless.

If something horrible happens during childhood, this could prompt the child to develop a bad relationship with food. Food is often one of the only big things that a child can control. Having this control over what they eat may bring a sense of stability and security that the child is craving desperately.

Eating disorders can catch up with adults who haven't healed from their past trauma, too. They may not be able to change the past, but they can change their current diet.

Eating Disorders After a Traumatic Event

Most of us are familiar with PTSD, which stands for post-traumatic stress disorder. A lesser-known condition is PTED, which stands for post-traumatic eating disorder. As the name implies, people can develop an ED after they experience something traumatic.

One study found that using emotion-based therapy strategies are effective at treating things like divorce trauma, recovering from violence, and other events that could trigger PTSD and PTED. This solidifies the link between mental health issues and eating disorders.

Now You Understand the Basics of Trauma and Eating Disorders

There's still a lot more that we need to uncover about the link between trauma and eating disorders. It's still comforting to know that your struggles are valid. While the road to recovery is challenging, healing any underlying trauma can help you build a better relationship with how you nourish your body.

Are you ready to take control of your life and get the happiness that you deserve? Working with a life coach can work wonders for your healing journey. Learn more about my programs so you can get started.

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