The link between trauma and disordered eating/eating disorders.
Updated: May 16
The link between trauma and disordered eating is complex, to say the least. Trauma can have a significant impact on a person’s relationship with their body, food, self-esteem and self-worth. These impacts can lead to the development of disordered eating behaviors.
Trauma can ofcourse take many forms. These painful experiences can lead to feelings of powerlessness, shame, and guilt. Sometimes these feelings can cause one to feel out of control, and seek coping through rigid eating rules, restricting, binging and so on.
Research has shown that people who have experienced trauma are at a higher risk of developing disordered eating behaviors. Treatment for disordered eating related to trauma involves addressing the underlying trauma and its effects on the person's relationship with food and body image. Therapy focuses on healing in a deep, body-based way. It also focuses on helping people develop coping skills, shift the negative beliefs they have about themselves as it relates to the trauma and their bodies, as well as growing self-compassion. This process may also include inner child work, which is a focus on recognizing that our behaviors as adults stem from our childhood experiences. Inner child work focuses on addressing unmet needs by reparenting ourselves and providing for ourselves in a way that was absent at a younger age.
Healing from trauma and disordered eating takes a lot of courage, strength and resilience. Wherever you might be on this journey, you are doing a great job.
If you are feeling the need for additional support, be sure to reach out to a professional to help guide you on your journey.