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PTSD and Addiction to Food

Thursday, 09 October 2014 00:00  by Emily S.

Many of those who have depression also struggle with anxiety, and those with borderline personality disorder are at high risk for developing substance abuse issues. These so-called co-occurring disorders have been the focus of research for years, and we have continued to gain insight into what causes each illness. According to a recent report published by TIME magazine and Huffington Post, scientists have found a strong link between post-traumatic stress disorder and food addiction in women.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that affects roughly 7.7 million American adults, namely war veterans, survivors of sexual assault and witnesses of natural disasters. PTSD can cause women to feel as though they are constantly reliving the nightmare through flashbacks, extreme fears and avoidance. This disorder can interfere with the way one copes and manages these anxieties and overwhelming thoughts.

A 2008 study showed the more PTSD symptoms a woman displayed, the more at risk she was for food addiction. A food addiction is part of a greater concern called disordered eating. Many women turn to food as comfort during distressing times, while others limit eating all together. Regardless if it is excessive or restrictive, an unhealthy relationship with food is damaging to one’s holistic health.

Brookhaven Retreat appreciates the role food and nutrition plays in a woman’s mental, emotional and physical wellness. Women who struggle with PTSD and an unhealthy relationship with food are encouraged to work with a registered dietitian to create a healthy relationship and positive body image. Classes with the dietitian and skill learning teach women to cope with their feelings through verbal and experiential expression.

Men and women have very distinct needs and different ways of coping with trauma. Brookhaven Retreat specializes in the unique needs of women and the impact mental health issues and addiction have on the lives of these women. Addressing the relationship between food and holistic wellness is an important component of a creating a healthy whole.

Last modified on Friday, 10 October 2014 01:59

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