There are few things in life that can make a person feel more powerless than to have been sexually abused. It is only natural for a person who has endured such abuse to want to do anything in order to regain control over their lives. Unfortunately, that need for control often manifests in unhealthy ways, such as in the form of an eating disorder or other self-harming activity.
What Is Binge Eating Disorder?
Binge Eating Disorder is a form of self harm characterized by cycles of excessive and uncontrollable overeating. Overeating serves as a form of stress relief when a person is feeling particularly overwhelmed and is unable to deal with their feelings. Following an episode of binge eating, this person does not purge like a person with bulimia does, and ends up feeling extreme shame and self-loathing after having consumed so much food.
What Is the Correlation Between Sexual Abuse and Binge Eating Disorder?
Victims of sexual abuse are significantly more prone to developing eating disorders than people who have not endured any abuse in their lives. Studies have shown that approximately 30 percent of individuals who have an eating disorder have suffered some form of sexual abuse. Children in particular who have been sexually abused,are especially prone to self harm and eating disorders because just as they are developing their own personal body image, that body is abused and becomes a reminder of the abuse. A sexual abuse survivor tends to develop a sense of shame about their body, and it often triggers habits that will harm the body.
Treating Binge Eating Disorder and Healing From Sexual Abuse
When treating any kind of disorder that is a result of trauma, the most important first step is to find and treat the underlying cause of the disorder. Why would a person intentionally eat so much more food than their body needs, to the point that they feel ashamed afterwards? It is not because they like to feel overfull, embarrassed, and miserable. There is another reason that this person has such a compulsion, and that cause could be feelings of body shame and self-hatred brought on by sexual abuse.
Sexual abuse survivors need to undergo extensive counseling in order to come to grips with the abuse that they have endured. The pain and shame that accompanies such trauma can be difficult to cope with, so professional counseling needs to be sought out. From there, the person can receive treatment for any other disorders that may have arisen, including Binge Eating Disorder. When both forms of treatment are used in conjunction with one another, the likelihood of success increases exponentially, helping the individual to heal and move on with their life.
When the time comes for a person to face their past traumas head on, it can be very painful and can increase the amount of stress that they are under. When this person suffers from Binge Eating Disorder, the stress could cause them to want to eat compulsively. At this time it is crucial that they have the full support of their loved ones so they can cope with their feelings safely. If you know someone who has Binge Eating Disorder brought on by sexual abuse, call this helpline at 800-890-3586, and get them the help that they need.