Having a traumatic experience as a child can trigger eating disorders such as binge eating disorder. This disorder causes a person to overeat and can even carry over into adulthood. Traumatic experiences can trigger survivors to hate their bodies associated with overeating. 

Low self-esteem is often experienced by those who have had traumatic experiences in childhood. This can lead to eating disorders or other addictive behavior as a form of escape or outlet. More information about childhood trauma and eating disorders can be read here!

Eating Disorders And Self Image

Some types of eating disorders are caused by negative feelings about one’s own body. One of them is because they have experienced traumatic events, ranging from being emotionally abused, sexual harassment, to emotional neglect. 

According to health data published by the National Eating Disorders Association , there are many types of trauma associated with eating disorders including neglect, sexual assault, sexual abuse, physical abuse and assault, emotional abuse, emotional and physical neglect (including food deprivation), ridicule, and bullying

Women who have experienced sexual trauma are more likely to experience psychological disorders and eating disorders. How do childhood traumas trigger eating disorders? The mechanism is that trauma can cause disturbances in the nervous system that can make it difficult for individuals to manage emotions, so they turn to eating disorder behaviors or other addictions as a way to manage these uncomfortable emotions. 

Sexual trauma in particular can cause body image problems, including a critical view of oneself that can develop after sexual trauma. Some survivors may wish to be thin or gain weight to reduce their attractiveness.

Not Always Triggered by Trauma

However, keep in mind that not all eating disorders are triggered by childhood trauma. Symptoms of an eating disorder triggered by trauma are usually accompanied by loss of focus, nightmares, irritability or alertness all the time, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and hallucinations.

Seeking appropriate treatment and care is critical to health and quality of life. Cognitive-behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) are forms of therapy available to treat eating disorders. 

Certain medications can also be useful in treating mood and anxiety disorders associated with trauma and eating disorders. However, the best way to use it is a combination of therapy and medication. 

The first step in recovery is getting help. You cannot face this disorder alone. Look for a therapist who specializes in treating eating disorders and to make sure you get professional treatment. 

Therapy should also include some type of nutritional plan to help restore the body’s abilities and restore healthy eating habits. A sign that you have found the right therapist is when you are able to adjust and learn effective and healthy coping mechanisms to deal with anxiety, discomfort, and emotions that arise.