The Relationship between Eating Disorders and Self-Injury

The Relationship between Eating Disorders and Self-InjuryEating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia can progress to self-injury, if left untreated. All of these disorders have similar causes, and over time they can become a form of addiction and be hard to stop. It is important to get treatment before serious self-injury occurs.

Causes of Eating Disorders and Self-Injury

The main cause of eating disorders is feelings of a lack of control over your environment, your body or your emotions. Associated low self-esteem combined with negative experiences can be overwhelming, especially when you feel as though you have nowhere to turn. More specific causes of eating disorders and self-injury include the following:

  • Environment. People that grow up in alcoholic or drug-addicted families often develop addictions of their own. When a person also has low self-esteem or a negative body image, this can contribute to the development of an eating disorder. In a chaotic home environment a person may feel that this control over their selves and their bodies is the only way to exert and control. Parents may not be emotionally supportive or communicative in a home that is not outwardly abusive. Students that excel at school, sports and other areas may be suffering on the inside due to constantly feeling as if they aren’t good enough.
  • Harassment. Harassment due to any reason can cause anxiety, depression, eating disorders or self-injury. If teens or adults feels like they have no one to talk to about their problems, they may internalize harassment and take it out on themselves.
  • Media. While images in the media are not likely to be the sole cause of eating disorders or self-injury, the constant perceived perfection of famous actors, actresses, sports figures and models can have a negative effect on self-image, especially if a person has no real-life role models to live up to. Both women and men are subject to outward pressure from these images, and this can be compounded if parents and family are not supportive of them as individuals.
  • Relationships. An emotionally or physically abusive relationship can make a person feel trapped and not in control of his or her situation. This kind of pressure may drive a person to resort to eating disorders, self-injury or drug use as a means of coping and expression some form of control.

Eating Disorders and Self-Injury Are Similar to Addiction

When a person causes self-harm, the body releases a flood of endorphins that can be addictive. Both addiction and self-harming disorders often result from an inability or unwillingness to discuss internal emotions and learn healthy coping methods. A person who attempts to control emotions through eating disorders, drug use or self-harm is at risk of making these habitual actions an addiction, unless he or she treats the underlying causes with the help of professional recovery resources.

Get Help Today for Self-injury, Drug Use and Eating Disorders

Eating disorders and self-injury can benefit from a variety of treatment methods including individual counseling. We can help you stop the cycle of self-abuse and live a healthy, happy life. Call us now, as our helpline is toll free and available 24 hours a day.