March 30, 2015 by Castlewood Treatment Center in Eating Disorder TreatmentPTSD and eating disorders commonly occur together in many patients. Many people who suffer from eating disorders often also suffered from physical, mental or sexual abuse, and used eating disorders to cope with their abuse. For that reason, PTSD is often found as a co-occurring diagnosis. Intense psychological flashbacks to abuse bring the victim back in a very vivid sense of the word to the place and time that the abuse occurred. To take control of these repeated visions and flashbacks, someone who suffers from PTSD may turn to eating disorders to cope and take control of what their mind sees to block out those painful memories. One of the main reasons eating disorders become relevant to those who suffer from PTSD is because the memories of their abuse and the affects of the abuse become extraordinarily uncomfortable. People who suffer from PTSD like to distance themselves from those feelings – and food is often that mechanism of control.
So many different things can trigger PTSD. As much as a glance from a person in public who looks like one’s abuser can set someone who suffers from both disorders. Those psychological triggers may send someone who suffers from PTSD over the edge and reeling in ways to try to cope in the moment with their visions and flashbacks of abuse.
PTSD and eating disorders are also both surrounded by cultural taboo. Memories of abuse remain in the subconscious for many who suffer from eating disorders. Unable to put their finger on why they feel the need to take control of their mental and emotional state through an eating disorder, it is not until they seek treatment for the eating disorder that they then too become aware of the fact that they are not only suffering from an eating disorder but also PTSD. This is where Castlewood and our therapy programs become key to your success in beating a dual diagnosis.
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