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Unveiling the Overlapping Struggles: Eating Disorders and OCD

Battling the relentless thoughts of an eating disorder can be exhausting, and when coupled with OCD, it creates a unique and challenging set of obstacles. In this blog post, we'll explore the intricate connection between these two disorders and discuss potential treatments and support available for those affected.
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By Anna Brinson

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) Awareness Week is a crucial time to shed light on the intersection of eating disorders and OCD. Battling the relentless thoughts of an eating disorder can be exhausting, and when coupled with OCD, it creates a unique and challenging set of obstacles. In this blog post, we’ll explore the intricate connection between these two disorders and discuss potential treatments and support available for those affected.

Understanding the Struggle: Eating Disorders and OCD

Battling your brain as you are navigating an eating disorder can be extremely exhausting. An eating disorder thrives off of negative thoughts related to food, weight, and body image that can impact an individual’s relationship with themselves and loved ones. Eating disorders are borne of attempts to cope with distress and seek to achieve some degree of control when other things seem out of control. The most common eating disorder diagnoses are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorders.

It is not uncommon to struggle with other mental health diagnoses while working towards eating disorder recovery. One of them is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). OCD goes beyond having a fear of germs or preferring things in perfect order. Individuals diagnosed with OCD experience obsessive thoughts (the “O”), which are intrusive, uncontrollable, and happen over and over again. The obsessive thoughts lead to rituals known as compulsions (the “C”) in an attempt to relieve the experiences of distress.

The Link Between Eating Disorders and OCD

Eating disorders and OCD can be intimately connected when someone with an eating disorder experiences obsessions related to food, weight, and body image. Individuals with OCD and an eating disorder can struggle heavily with “food rituals” such as eating certain categories of foods, ordered eating, not allowing foods to touch, avoiding or only eating foods of certain colors, stacking plates/bowls/cups to minimize table clutter and make the meal seem smaller, etc.

Treatment for individuals who struggle with both an eating disorder and OCD can be customized based on the needs of the individual. This depends largely on whether it would be clinically beneficial for both diagnoses to be addressed together or separately. Effective treatment methods can include a combination of psychotherapy, behavioral therapy, and medications.

Seeking Support from Evoke

Whatever you are facing and no matter where you are in your journey, Evoke is here to help. We have therapists who specialize in eating disorders, OCD, and the concerns that accompany them. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the symptoms above, please reach out today and get the support you deserve.

OCD Awareness Week serves as a reminder that mental health conditions like eating disorders and OCD can be intertwined, creating unique struggles for those affected. By understanding the connection and seeking appropriate support and treatment, individuals can work towards a brighter, healthier future. Remember, you’re not alone on this journey, and there is help available.

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