Skip to main content

Posts Tagged “Co-Occurring Disorders”

January 25, 2024

Understanding the Connection Between Eating Disorders & Body Dysmorphic Disorder

You look in the mirror for what feels like all hours of the day. You cannot stop fixating on your perceived “flaws,” frequently examining your face for blemishes and picking at your skin to try to make it look “smooth.” These near-constant thoughts about your appearance are taking over your life, affecting your relationships, passions, school, and work. 

You may be experiencing more than commonplace appearance insecurities. Symptoms like yours could indicate an eating disorder, body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), or both. There are ways in which BDD and eating disorders overlap, but they are two distinct mental health conditions. 

May 16, 2023

The Link Between Eating Disorders and Other Mental Health Diagnoses

Eating disorders are complex illnesses for both the individuals who experience them and the professionals who seek to treat them. Among the complicating factors is that they seldom exist in isolation. Many people suffering from anorexia, bulimia, BED, and other eating disorders also experience other mental health conditions, such as anxiety, depression, substance use disorders, or a history of trauma.

The high prevalence of anxiety and depression among those with eating disorders hints at a biological connection between these conditions. Further research is needed to fully understand this relationship—to discern whether anxiety and depression are distinct diagnoses independent of eating disorders or if they are intricately intertwined outcomes of the same underlying biological factors. It’s also possible that these conditions are correlated to the change in brain chemistry that occurs with starvation, bingeing, purging, and/or other eating disorder behaviors.

April 1, 2023

Eating Disorders and Autism: What You Need to Know

Note: In this blog, we use identity-first language (e.g., “an autistic individual”) to reflect those who embrace autism as an identity category – a diverse way of perceiving and interacting with the world (Taboas et al., 2022; Bury et al., 2020).  However, we recognize that this language choice may not be suitable for everyone in the community. Whenever possible, please ask individuals about the language appropriate for them. 

Living with and treating an eating disorder may be complicated by the presence of a co-occurring condition, particularly when the condition shares characteristics with an eating disorder. One such condition that shares some psychopathology with a disordered eating mindset—and is frequently seen alongside an eating disorder diagnosis—is autism spectrum disorder.

There are a number of factors that increase the risk of disordered eating or an eating disorder in an autistic individual. By looking at the nature of both eating disorders and autism spectrum disorders, we can better understand their relationship and improve the detection, care, and treatment of both conditions.

September 28, 2022

How to Identify Signs of Suicide in Patients With Eating Disorders

Eating disorders impact about 30 million people in the United States. They are associated with high levels of premature mortality, including an increased risk for suicide. Without treatment, up to 20 percent of people with a serious eating disorder will die. Much like eating disorders, suicidal thoughts can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, or any other demographic categorization. 

As providers, there are certain warning signs of suicidal thinking that you should be looking out for, as well as an appropriate way to approach someone when you spot these warning signs.

November 30, 2021

Anxiety and Eating Disorders

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, but they are still often misunderstood. As with eating disorders, the seriousness of anxiety is often dismissed. When a disorder affects so many people, the behaviors and symptoms can become normalized in our culture, but those suffering deserve help just as much as anyone else. Just like eating disorders are often misunderstood as something that people can just “get over,” many people think anxiety is something that you should be able to move past easily, which is not realistic in either case. In this article, we will cover the definition of anxiety disorder, five common myths, and how eating disorders and anxiety are intertwined. 

July 6, 2021

Episode 55: Eating Disorders in Fiction with Emily Layden

Episode description:

Emily Layden is a writer and former high school English teacher from upstate New York. A graduate of Stanford University, her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Marie Claire, The Billfold, and Runner’s World. She joins us in this episode of Peace Meal to discuss her debut novel All Girls. We explore the depiction of disordered eating and anxiety in the book and society more generally, using Emily’s experience with the co-occurring concerns as context along the way. 

We center our conversation on one of the characters of All Girls, Macy, who struggles with clinical anxiety and an eating disorder resembling ARFID. Emily tells us about her decision to write Macy as she did, eschewing graphic descriptions of behaviors to highlight Macy’s anxious thoughts instead. She describes what she hopes All Girls adds to the larger conversation about eating disorders and the adolescent females among whom eating disorders are particularly prevalent. Emphasizing the importance of taking both eating disorders and young women more seriously, we explore how society tends to think similarly of both.

Get help. Find hope.