Eating disorders and anxiety
Many people who experience an eating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder people develop obsessive-compulsive
disorder will also experience another (PTSD) - intense fear or panic linked to a behaviours relating to food preparation,
mental illness. The most frequently co- traumatic event. how they eat, exercise, and weighing or
occurring mental illnesses for people with Social anxiety - an intense fear of measuring themselves. The underlying
eating disorders are anxiety and mood embarrassment or criticism in social reasons why an individual develops an
disorders. Up to two-thirds of people with situations, such as interactions with eating disorder or an anxiety disorder
eating disorders will also experience an others or performing in front of others. may be the same.
anxiety disorder in their lives.
Specific phobias - having feelings of Treatment
What is anxiety? terror or panic that are disproportionate to
Anxious feelings can range from
the actual threat of the situation, object, Given that both eating disorders and
nervousness to intense panic. When
animal or activity. anxiety disorders often have underlying
causes and symptoms, it is important that
we are in stressful situations we all What are the links between eating both disorders are properly addressed.
experience these feelings to some disorders and anxiety? Addressing and attempting to heal from
degree, but they often subside once the the issues that caused these disorders is
stressful situation has passed. For people Several studies have shown that anxiety important.
with clinical anxiety these feelings do not often precedes the onset of an eating
subside, and are often so intense that it disorder. For some people, an eating Different treatment options work for
can make it difficult to cope with daily life. disorder becomes a coping mechanism different people. For example, Cognitive
Anxiety disorders are the most common to deal with the pain and distress Behavioural Therapy (CBT) has been
mental illness in Australia, affecting 1 in brought on by anxiety. People living with proven to be very effective for the
7 people each year, and 1 in 4 people at severe anxiety may attempt to regain treatment of both anxiety and eating
some stage in their life. a sense of control by strictly regulating disorders in many people. This focuses
their food intake, exercise, and weight. on understanding and changing how
Types of anxiety disorders For people who develop an eating people think and behave. Other forms
Generalised anxiety disorder - feeling disorder before they develop anxiety, of psychotherapy, support groups, and
anxious or worried about everyday life, to these severe anxious feelings may medications can also be effective. The
the point where these feelings interfere arise from difficulties associated with underlying theme of many of these
with a person's ability to carry out normal the symptoms of eating disorders, such treatments is finding healthier ways of
activities. as changes in weight and attempting coping with the difficulties brought on by
to stick to stringent self-imposed `rules' both anxiety and eating disorders.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder about exercise and food. For someone
(OCD) - having recurring, unpleasant experiencing both these conditions, it How can EDV help?
and intrusive thoughts that lead people can be difficult for them to identify which If you or someone you know is
to compulsively carry out a behaviour or one began first. experiencing anxiety and an eating
set of behaviours, in order to alleviate the There are some overlaps in symptoms disorder, remember that you are not
anxiety associated with these thoughts. of anxiety and eating disorders. Anxiety alone. EDV can provide support and
Panic Disorder - when panic attacks are about eating, weight gain, and social understands how overwhelming it can
recurrent and disabling. evaluation are all common symptoms feel to reach out for support.
of eating disorders that could also
contribute to a diagnosis of anxiety. Some
Eating disorders and
Treatment options for eating disorders
If you contact the EDV Hub (1300 550 call and speak about your feelings of
236 or email@example.com) anxiety when they arise.
we can talk with you about how you're Keep a `Happy List' nearby, listing
feeling and help link you in with services, activities, people or memories that
including giving details of health bring a smile to your face and keep
professionals with experience working you calm. This might be as simple as a
with anxiety and eating disorders. warm cup of tea, laughing with a friend,
EDV also has a team of psychologists playing with your pet or remembering a
experienced in treating eating disorders favourite holiday.
and anxiety. Education, support and
information on how to begin the recovery References
journey is accessible and evidence-
based, so that people experiencing Hughes, E.K., Goldschmidt, A. B.,
anxiety and an eating disorder can Labuschange, Z., Loeb, K. L., Sawyer,
develop a greater understanding of how S. M., Le Grange, D. (2013) Eating
these two mental health illnesses often Disorders with and without Comorbid
exist alongside each other. Depression and Anxiety: Similarities and
differences in a clinical sample of children
Resources for people with eating and adolescents. Eating Disorders
disorders and anxiety Review, 21, 386-394.
Those who are experiencing an eating http://www.eatingdisorderhope.com/
disorder and anxiety are encouraged treatment-for-eating-disorders/co-
to contact the EDV Hub on 1300 550 occurring-dual-diagnosis/anxiety
236 or Anxiety Recovery Centre Victoria http://www.adaa.org/understanding-
(ARCVIC) on 1300 269 438. Further anxiety/related-illnesses/eating-disorders
information about anxiety can be found http://www.beyondblue.org.au/
on the ARCVIC website: www.arcvic.org.
au. Outside of business hours, contact
Suicide Line on 1300 651 251 or Lifeline
on 13 11 14 for immediate crisis support.
Tips for coping with anxiety and an eating
Try breathing techniques, i.e.
Breathing Waltz: Breathe in for the
count of 3, hold your breath for the
count of 3, breathe out for the count of
3. Repeat for one minute.
Try sensory focus techniques, i.e.
focus on each of the five senses for 10
seconds. What are you touching, what
do you smell, what do you hear, what
do you see and what do you taste?
Have a trusted support person you can
Eating Disorders Victoria Level 2, cnr Lulie and Abbot Streets, Abbotsford, Victoria 3067
T 1300 550 236 E firstname.lastname@example.org W www.eatingdisorders.org.au
Information sheet prepared by Eating Disorders Victoria. The information in this article is by no means intended as a substitute
for medical advice from a qualified health practitioner. It does not recommend any one treatment, therapy or medication.
Please seek medical advice as different medications suit different individuals. ? 2019 Eating Disorders Foundation of Victoria
Inc. ABN 24 010 832 192 Reg No A0022880J
How do you deal with anxiety when dating?Method 2 Method 2 of 3: Coping with Your Feelings Download ArticleAllow yourself to feel your emotions. Give yourself permission to experience your emotions, then try to name how you’re feeling.Identify the reasons you feel anxious about dating. Think about why you feel nervous and about the relationships you’ve had in the past.Express your feelings of anxiety to help you manage them. ...More items...
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