Sexual Anxiety and Eating Disorders

Category : Sex Addiction Information

Sexual Anxiety and Eating DisordersAnxiety can cause a number of upsetting side effects, including feeling on edge, experiencing tension, being unable to think rationally and feeling a sense of impending doom. All forms of anxiety share these common effects, however specific types of anxiety can lead to different and more complex symptoms that require special treatment. Individuals experiencing sexual anxiety may attempt to cope with their painful feelings by starving themselves, over-eating, or binging and purging.

How Sexual Anxiety Can Cause Eating Disorders

In most cases, sexual anxiety has developed as a result of past sexual abuse. Abuse such as molestation, rape, unwanted sexual advances and sexual assault can cause an individual to become anxious or fearful of participating in sexual behaviors. As this anxiety continues, an individual may begin developing additional psychological problems, such as an eating disorder. Some of the many ways in which sexual anxiety can cause eating disorders can include the following:

  • Need for control – When individuals are sexually abused, they feel helpless, powerless and unable to control the situation. As a result, they might anxiously look for things to control in their lives, including food and eating. This continual focus on controlling food, eating and weight can serve as a distraction from being intimate with a loved one, causing rifts in a close relationship.
  • Guilt and shame – Victims of sexual abuse often experience guilt and shame, which can easily lead to the development of sexual anxiety. Individuals might turn to food to ease that anxiety. This can quickly lead to an over-eating disorder, as well as interfere with their potential for being intimate with a partner or a spouse.
  • Self-esteem – Individuals who experienced sexual abuse may question their overall worth and physical appearance, and may turn to over-eating to cope with anxiety, or under-eating to feel in control of their bodies. As a result, these individuals might engage in anorexic or bulimic behaviors to control their weight, and/or begin over-eating to gain weight to prevent others from desiring them sexually.

Needing control, feeling guilty and shameful and developing low self-esteem are all reasons why sexual anxiety can lead to the development of an eating disorder.

Getting Treatment for Sexual Anxiety and Eating Disorders

Individuals struggling with eating disorders and sexual anxiety need professional support to end physical and psychological harm. The combination of sexual anxiety and an eating disorder can be deadly, especially if the both disorders go untreated.

Do You Need Help Ending an Eating Disorder or Anxiety Problem?

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