Eating disorders and anxiety often occur together. One study found 53% of patients with eating disorders were also diagnosed with anxiety . Another group of researchers concluded that those diagnosed with anxiety by age 10 may be more likely to develop an eating disorder than others .
The thoughts, feelings, and sensations associated with an urge to use eating disorder behaviors can feel similar. Both can include racing thoughts, nervous energy, a pit in the stomach. For those who feel compelled to use restrictive behaviors, anxiety will spike when they must resist those behaviors.
Learning to access and use tools that help with feelings of anxiety will make a recovery much more likely. Here are several tools you might consider.
Most professionals who work with eating disorders recommend working with a therapist, dietitian, family doctor, and psychiatrist. Talk with this team about your anxiety and ask if medication might be right for you.
Finding the right medication can be a tremendous help in making symptoms more bearable and allow you to focus on other aspects of recovery.
But don’t rely solely on medication. Anxiety feels a lot like being out of control. Taking active steps to manage the anxiety will feel like you are taking back at least one part of your life.
One practical way to do this is to write about your anxiety. Can’t sleep because your mind is racing? Can’t stop thinking about something that upsets you? Take a few minutes and write down your anxious thoughts because journaling is an excellent tool for coping with anxiety .
Anxiety can result from feeling overwhelmed with too much to do. Here’s how:
One of the most commonly recommended tools for anxiety is breathing mindfully.
There are several apps and websites such as calm.com which will teach you how to do this.
Because urges and anxiety can feel so much alike, learning to take steps like those taught on URGE911.com can help you feel safer, calmer, and more present.
Feeling anxious right now? Take a moment, breathe, and try one of these approaches. You’ll be glad you did.
 Ulfvebrand, S., Birgegard, A., Norring, C., Hogdahl, L., & von Hausswolff-Juhlin, Y. (2015). Psychiatric comorbidity in women and men with eating disorders results from a large clinical database. Psychiatry Research, 230(2), 294-299.
 Schaumberg, K., Zerwas, S., Goodman, E. L., Yilmaz, Z., Bulik, C. M., & Micali, N. (2019). Anxiety disorder symptoms at age 10 predict eating disorder symptoms and diagnoses in adolescence. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 60(6), 686-696.
About Our Sponsor:
Reasons Eating Disorder Center is an innovative program founded on the belief that healing is a fundamental aspect of eating disorder treatment. We believe that eating disorders are rooted in and driven by anxiety and profound disruptions to the sufferers’ sense of self. We offer our patients hope rooted in the belief that they are capable of living an authentic life of meaning and connectedness. Our goal is to create a culture that nurtures the integration of body and mind through the daily practice and continual reinforcing of the balancing ideas of Doing and Being.
About the Author:
Travis Stewart, LPC has been mentoring others since 1992 and became a Licensed Professional Counselor in 2005. His counseling approach is relational and creative, helping people understand their story while also building hope for the future. Travis has experience with a wide variety of issues which might lead people to seek out professional counseling help.
This includes special interest in helping those with compulsive and addictive behaviors such as internet and screen addiction, eating disorders, anxiety, and perfectionism. Specifically, he has worked with eating disorders since 2003 and has learned from many of the field’s leading experts. He has worked with hundreds of individuals facing life-threatening eating disorders in all levels of treatment.
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective on eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.
We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.
Published September 23, 2019, on EatingDisorderHope.com
Reviewed & Approved on September 23, 2019, by Jacquelyn Ekern MS, LPC
The post Eating Disorders and Anxiety: What Tools Are Available to Help? appeared first on Eating Disorder Hope.