Posts Tagged ‘Co-Occurring Disorders’

Eating Disorders, Trauma, and Intimacy Difficulties

Couple sitting on ledge

**Please be aware that this blog covers topics of trauma and abuse. Please use your own discretion when reading and speak to your therapist or support system as needed. If you need someone to speak to about sexual assault or abuse, reach out to RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE. If you need to talk with someone or need help fleeing domestic violence, reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or TTY 1-800-787-3224.

The existence of an eating disorder largely impacts a person’s ability and desire to be in sexual and/or emotionally intimate relationships. In those with anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, compulsive overeating, or OSFED, one of the main symptoms is a concern about body weight, image, size, and/or shape. These body image disturbances and obsessive negative thoughts can create barriers to entering into an intimate relationship or can prevent intimacy in current relationships. Oftentimes, those with eating disorders struggle getting close to others because their eating disorder becomes their primary focus.

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The Link between Eating Disorders and Other Mental Health Diagnoses

Girl by river

One thing that makes eating disorders so difficult to live with and to treat is that they often do not exist in isolation. A very large number of people suffering from eating disorders may also suffer from another illness. For instance, it is extremely common for someone with an eating disorder to have significant anxiety—and there is likely a biological relationship between eating disorders and anxiety symptoms. Depression is also extremely common in relation to eating disorders. This may be related to biological traits that are similar; however, it may also be related to the change in brain chemistry that occurs with starvation, binging, purging, and/or other eating disorder behaviors. Or it may exist as a completely separate diagnosis.

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