Eating Disorders History

For many people with an eating disorder, history matters. Their personal history, that is. While there are a number of potential factors involved in eating disorders, one of the risks for an eating disorder is a history of past abuse.

Remuda Programs for Eating Disorders, an eating disorder treatment center, reports that more than 50 percent of its patients have experienced trauma in their lives. The trauma is
usually sexual, physical and emotional abuse. “Forty-nine percent of our patients have experienced childhood sexual abuse,” said Amy Spahr, clinical director at Remuda Programs for Eating Disorders. “This is about 20 percent higher than in the general population. Additionally, in the last five years, 11 percent of adolescent and 20
percent of adult patients were diagnosed with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Research has shown that childhood sexual abuse increases binge-eating, purging, restricting calories, body shame and body dissatisfaction. Eating disorders become a way of helping victims cope with shame. They feel they may need to modify their body in ways that reduce shame or distress. For example, a woman suffering from trauma and an eating disorder may wish to reduce her breast size in order to appear less feminine and therefore, less appealing to men because of her past sexual abuse.

However, for people with eating disorders, history is not destiny. It is possible to develop a healthy relationship with food and with one’s own body.

The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes and we encourage all visitors to see a licensed physician if they believe that they have an eating disorder. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Please see our Legal Statement for further information.

Copyright © 2008-2017
Company Information

© 2017 All rights reserved. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of's terms of service and privacy policy. The material on this site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment provided by a qualified health care provider.