National Eating Disorders Association

Exposure to an extreme traumatic stressor involving direct personal experience of an event that involves actual or threatened death or serious injury or threat to one’s physical integrity is included in the description of the diagnosis for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Sexually traumatic events for children may include developmentally inappropriate sexual experiences without threat of actual violence or injury. Physical and/or sexual abuse, incest, and rape are all included in the events hailing the diagnosis of PTSD, according to the DSM-IV. 

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A woman I treated often described it as the key “roadblock” to her recovery, a seemingly larger-than-life barrier that prevented her from making it to the other side of her eating disorder. She could envision what awaited her, a life rich with wellness and meaning, but she couldn’t see a way around this boulder lying in her path. 

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Getting to the Root Cause to Treat Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are rarely solely related to abnormal or disturbed eating habits. In fact, eating disorders are rarely even about food. As an integrative medicine practitioner with over thirty years of experience in treating eating disorders, knowing the root cause of eating disorders like bulimia, binge eating disorder, and anorexia is critical to developing an effective treatment plan for patients. 

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I used to become so depressed that I would hate myself for every little thing I perceived as a flaw. I'd spend hours daily making lists of the things I needed to work on and the things that just weren't right about me. This constant battle in my head left me never feeling good enough. I'd toss and turn in bed some nights wondering what I could do to just see myself as perfect. 

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In the beginning of April, I participated in a NEDA chat about eating disorders, body image issues, and how they affect me as an autistic woman. After the chat, I had so many thoughts swirling around in my brain. The questions and answers brought forth memories long forgotten. 

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Thanks to the wonderful work of the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), the month of April is dedicated as  Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. RAINN says that, “the goal of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month (#SAAM) is to spread awareness of sexual violence, and share concrete ways to address this issue.” This is a goal that NEDA whole-heartedly supports.

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