Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Childhood Sexual Abuse, Trauma and Eating Disorders

Majority of Eating Disorder Patients Experience Childhood Sexual Abuse,

PHOENIX, August 5 -- Remuda Programs for Eating Disorders, the nation's
leading 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.

"At Remuda, we teach patients skills that assist them in achieving recovery
from their eating disorder while taking significant steps to work through
trauma issues," adds Spahr.

Many times, patients use trauma as an explanation for their continued need
to rely on eating disorder behaviors. The center's treatment model aims to
teach sufficient skills so the patient trauma issues are no longer so
intense. Once in recovery from the eating disorder, they can return as
needed to more in-depth trauma work without significant risk of an eating
disorder relapse.

"Trauma recovery work, combined with eating disorder recovery, can be
challenging and complicated," adds Spahr. "A patient who has been
victimized may often have difficulty building trust and acceptance. An
essential element that is necessary in assisting the patient in the trauma
work is providing an environment of support and acceptance."

About Remuda Ranch Programs for Eating and Anxiety Disorders
Remuda Ranch offers Christian inpatient and residential programs for women
and girls of all faiths suffering from eating or anxiety disorders. Each
patient is treated by a multi-disciplinary team including a Psychiatric and
a Primary Care Provider, Registered Dietitian, Masters Level therapist,
Psychologist and Registered Nurse. The professional staff equips each
patient with the right tools to live a healthy, productive life. For more
information, call 1-800-445-1900 or visit www.remudaranch.com.

1 comment:

Beth Fehlbaum, Author said...

I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and I also have an eating disorder. I have heard the same stats about the percentages of people with eating disorders also having been sexually abused.
I have no experience with Remuda Ranch, but I can attest to the power of hard work and a competent therapist in helping me to manage my eating disorder.
Beth Fehlbaum, author
Courage in Patience, a story of hope for those who have endured abuse
Chapter 1 is online!