Work and World

An Eating Disorder Specialist Explains How Trauma Creates Food Disorders

people with eating disorders in general don’t want eating disorders we like to think like oh that would never happen any one of us could develop an eating disorder we’re no different I’m Ashley McCann and I’m a therapist in Jacksonville Florida I work with an eating disorder center and in private practice individuals with anorexia bulimia nervosa binge eating disorder all of these individuals with eating disorders likely experience a considerable amount of preoccupation with food what I’m going to eat what I’m not going to eat when and where it might be feeling that I don’t belong or I don’t fit unless my body looks a certain way but it’s not that that is really what the person is looking for what the person is looking for is a sense of belonging of connection of love feeling worthy or valuable of feeling safe or secure well there are so many they’re about vanity that they’re assembly about food that people should just be able to stop that people are different than us our fit is an acronym that stands for avoidant restrictive food intake disorder previously known as selective eating disorder this was introduced in 2013 with the dsm-5 our feed is a diagnosis in which we see people significantly restricting what foods they eat the number of foods they eat how much food they eat but the difference between picky eating and someone with our fed is that that anxiety it leaves people feeling powerless while someone who is a picky eater it might not like to eat certain things they won’t be shut down by the idea of doing it our fit is similar to most eating disorders in that there is this intense underlying anxiety and way in which it’s different is that it’s not restrictive to meet the end of body image disturbance or dysmorphia there’s no drive for thinness when we have an experience of trauma again we might feel out of control powerless and helpless so trauma can really prime us to develop all kinds of maladaptive patterns and eating disorders really can operate in the same way people can use them to numb to get out of a feeling or trust omits to create a different feeling State but for all of them you know that that common thread is that underlying anxiety or pain or discomfort that suffering that they’re trying to alleviate the longer someone has had an eating disorder the more deeply ingrained those patterns and behaviors are the more treatment they might need the paths to recovery might vary where there’s a clear and present trauma we might be looking initially of doing trauma therapy and then food reintroduction and when it’s sensory we might go right at food exposure whenever I’m working with an individual with any kind of eating disorder I’m working as well with a doctor and a dietician and so together we’re looking at labs and making recommendations based on what is needed for balance depending on where someone lives what kind of insurance they have or what their financial status is treatment may or may not be accessible another barrier to treatment for many individuals is simply awareness being unaware that our fit is a diagnosis for example because so many people especially males with eating disorders there’s shame there’s hiding there is also fear that there’s not treatment for them and for some that can be more of a reality because of access I do not think in general society has a healthy relationship with food the more we are taught to restrict the more we are likely to overeat the more we tell ourselves that things are good and bad and right and wrong the more we increase our anxiety and the more we are going to have preoccupation and just stress related to food and eating the support of others is often vital and it’s something that can be very challenging because for someone who’s not experienced this it can be very difficult to understand friends and family can do their best to ask questions to try to understand from the perspective of their loved one the more they understand how to support someone the better we’ll see recovery rates [Music]
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