Binge Eating and Trauma
Binge eating is having episodes of compulsive eating. According to WedMD, one in four people who binge eat have PTSD and 35% of women who have been raped or sexually assaulted have a binge eating disorder. Many with PTSD tend to engage in self-destructive behavior in order to focus on something other than the traumatic event. It is important for someone with this dual diagnosis to receive help before too much damage is done to their physical and mental health.
PTSD is when you have experienced physical or sexual assault, seen the violent or accidental death of a loved one, the after-effects of war, terrorism, or seeing a crime like rape or murder. Binge eating tends to be connected to distress and psychological problems. In order to maintain control, those with PTSD are constantly eating to maintain control on the food they are eating and how much they have since they had no control during their traumatizing event.
The challenge of someone with PTSD having a binge eating disorder is that they have trouble understanding their feelings or why they feel what they do because they are too busy numbing their feelings with food. Some also binge eat as a weapon to prevent getting hurt again like a woman who was sexually assaulted might feel if she gains weight, she will not get hurt by attackers in the future. It is important to control your PTSD so you can learn how to control your thoughts. You also need to treat your binge eating or you can end up with serious weight problems that lead to heart complications and diabetes. In order to be treated of your binge eating disorder and trauma, tell your doctor about all of your symptoms as well as past trauma so that both disorders are treated.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can help you as well as prolonged exposure therapy which involves sharing your traumatizing stories and learning how to face your fears. Even though reliving traumatic memories can increase your urge to binge eat, your doctor will help you fight those urges. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy focuses on eye movements or hand taps while thinking or discussing painful memories. Antidepressants are also helpful for PTSD and can help ease the anxiety and depression that comes with binge eating. It is important to learn about healthy outlets of dealing with your emotions for a successful recovery.