Skip to main content

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) lists different types of eating disorders that are respectively categorized under the Disorder Class: Feeding and Eating Disorders. Eating disorders are defined as “serious medical illnesses marked by severe disturbances to a person’s eating behavior,” and are characterized by abnormal, irregular eating habits, and an extreme concern with one’s body weight or shape. Eating disorders often arise from a need to control oneself or environment, and this behavior can be triggered by a traumatic experience. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), describes trauma as “an event, or series of events, that causes moderate to severe stress reactions… [that are] characterized by a sense of horror, helplessness, serious injury, or the threat of serious injury or death.” The connection between trauma and eating disorders is complex and multifaceted.

Scientific evidence reveals that individuals who experience any form of trauma have a higher likelihood of developing an eating disorder compared to those who did not suffer a traumatic event. Sexual abuse, for example, is a common cause of trauma which presents a link to eating disorders, as one study found that around 30% of people with eating disorders had been sexually abused in childhood. The National Comorbidity Survey-Replication Study found that approximately 80% of people who struggled with behaviors such as restricting their food intake or bingeing and purging also reported exposure to trauma. Eating disorders are often connected to the experience of trauma, because the behaviors associated with these diseases develop as a coping mechanism or means of self-protection.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a very specific disorder related to trauma and recent studies have examined the correlation with this diagnosis and eating disorders. In one research study of females hospitalized with an eating disorder, 25% of them presented with symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Another study revealed approximately 75% of women who had enrolled in residential treatment for their eating disorder admitted to experiencing some form of trauma while 50% of these women had a history of PTSD. In addition, studies have found that patients who suffer from PTSD from specific trauma are significantly more likely to suffer from an eating disorder in the future. 

The relationship between trauma and eating disorders is bidirectional. Trauma often serves as a significant contributing factor to the development and exacerbation of eating disorders. Conversely, it is also possible that an individual with an eating disorder can be more vulnerable to trauma events because of their disorder. Understanding the connection between trauma and eating disorders is crucial for both the prevention and treatment.

Treatment In Calabasas

Calabasas is a city in California. It is a well-known suburb of Los Angeles, located west of the San Fernando Valley and north of the Santa Monica Mountains. Over the past decade, the city of Calabasas has grown in its reputation for luxury as well as for privacy which makes it a hidden gem for residential living for society’s elite, and one of the most desirable destinations in Los Angeles County. It is also home to a plethora of highly qualified mental health clinicians providing an array of therapeutic services and treatment options. 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

Back to top