Stress and Eating Disorders

Stress and Eating DisordersEating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and compulsive overeating are often triggered or made worse by stress. It is important to know how eating disorders and stress are related, so you can help yourself or someone you love recover and stay healthy. Learn more about these two conditions, and find out how you can get help and support today.

How Anxiety Makes Eating Problems Worse

Eating disorders are about much more than body image. Many people who struggle with eating disorders also struggle with feeling “in control” of their own lives. Stress and anxiety can make eating disorders much worse. Consider the following examples of how mental health and eating disorders interact:

  • Mary is diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. She restricts her food because she feels like food is the only thing she can truly control. Mary feels like she must remain in complete control of her life and her eating behaviors at all times. If Mary eats more than she allows herself, she feels angry at herself, and she feels like she is out of control. Her stress causes her to continue calorie restriction.
  • Jane tries to diet, but the more she restricts her calories the more anxious she becomes. Jane becomes so hungry that she ends up binging on thousands of calories in one sitting. Disgusted with herself and panicked about fitting into her new dress, she purges in order to rid herself of the calories.
  • Mark was abused as a young boy. He experienced a great deal of trauma in his early years. Mark feels better when he eats, because eating makes his anxiety go away temporarily. His binge eating becomes a secret behavior that creates more stress in his life.

In each example anxiety and stress contributed to an eating disorder, and the eating disorder also made each person’s anxiety worse. Anxiety and eating disorders operate in a cycle which is why it is important to seek specialty integrated treatment that will treat both the eating disorder and the underlying causes of the eating disorder. Additionally eating disorders rarely occur alone. Each person who has an eating disorder typically struggles with other complicated issues such as the following:

  • Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • Depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Trauma
  • Anger

Because eating disorders occur along with other psychological issues, it is important that each person seek treatment that will help heal all problems that contribute to good health, wellness and happiness.

Find Specialty Treatment for an Eating Disorder Today

We can help you find specialty treatment to help heal an eating disorder today. Anxiety, stress and issues with food don’t have to control your life. You can be free from this problem, and we can help.
We offer a toll-free helpline that will immediately connect you with an experienced recovery professional. Please call us now, and find out how we can help you.