Treatment for Sexual Trauma and Eating Disorders

Treatment for Sexual Trauma and Eating DisordersExperiencing trauma as a result of sexual abuse or assault can trigger psychological issues such as the following:

  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Bulimia
  • Depression
  • Substance abuse
  • Addiction
  • Borderline personality disorder

There is a high correlation between experiencing sexual trauma and developing an eating disorder. Many people with eating disorders have experienced sexual trauma at some point in their lives. This is not to say that everyone with an eating disorder has experienced sexual trauma or that everyone who has experienced sexual trauma will develop an eating disorder. Experiencing sexual trauma increases the risk for developing an eating disorder, and many people with eating disorders have experienced sexual trauma.

The Connection between Sexual Trauma and Eating Disorders

The human mind is a complex organism, and its defense mechanisms are elaborate. There is not a clear, easy to way to understand why some people develop an eating disorder following sexual trauma. An eating disorder may be the result of poor self-image or a desire to exert control over some aspect of one’s life, when he or she feels out of control or at the mercy of others. Either of these states of mind may be produced by sexual trauma. Sexual abuse and assault happen to females more often than to males, although they do occur to males as well. Likewise eating disorders are more common in females but occur in males as well.

Treating Eating Disorders and Underlying Causes

If you have experienced sexual trauma and you suffer from an eating disorder, it is likely that the two are related. It is difficult to determine an exact cause and effect relationship, to say that “this caused that because…” However suffering sexual assault without receiving treatment is likely to result in one or more psychological issues such as an eating disorder. It is also likely that there are other contributing issues that need to be addressed as well, and there may be other manifestations of inner conflict such as substance abuse or difficulty forming and maintaining relationships.

Treatment for an eating disorder will help the patient to explore, address and resolve the inner conflicts that have contributed to the eating disorder. If sexual trauma is a contributing factor, it will emerge in therapy and be dealt with along with any other contributing factors. Dealing with the factors that contributed to the eating disorder will help patients overcome it and will also help him or her to identify and manage other issues such as depression or substance abuse.

Need Help Finding Treatment for an Eating Disorder?

If you would like help finding treatment for an eating disorder, counseling for sexual trauma or support for drug abuse recovery, call our toll-free helpline today. Counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you may have and help you find the treatment you need.

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