Don’t Look Away

The summer of my junior year of college, the man I loved abandoned me for heroin, and I retreated inside my eating disorder. I began volunteering at a homeless shelter for women in Chicago, IL, despite struggling with body dysmorphia to the point where I otherwise refused to be seen. The night I came home from my first shift I glanced in the mirror and for a few minutes was okay with my reflection. This helped me realize that body dysmorphia served a purpose in my life and was a maladaptive coping mechanism, like the eating disorder I had been battling since age fourteen. I later found treatment at a program called Insight, in Chicago, IL, but not before things …

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Eating Disorders and Chemical Dependency Share Strong Similarities

According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, 1 in 10 of those suffering with bulimia or binge eating disorder have a comorbid substance abuse disorder. This makes sense if you view eating disorders as a maladaptive coping mechanism like chemical dependency.

The Ace Study gives a strong sense of how body image is often symbolic. The ACE Study was developed by a man named Dr. Vincent Felitti and asserted that there was a correlation between adverse childhood experiences and health problems later in life. His inspiration for the ACE Study began in the mid-1980s when he worked at Kaiser Permanente’s Department of Preventive Medicine in San Diego. While he was there, he noted that patients in …

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