Recognizing the Territory: The Interaction of Trauma, Attachment Injury, and Dissociation in Treating Eating Disorders
This chapter briefly discusses the interaction of trauma, attachment injury, and dissociation in treating eating disorders (EDs). What is it that causes some people to develop an ED, and others to manage eating behaviors in a relatively normal manner? The answer is anything but simple. EDs are a biopsychosocial illness. They are the result of a complex interplay of factors including genes, temperament, social interactions, early attachment, culture, and of course life experiences. These variables come together and affect each other in a perfect storm fashion and may result in ED psychopathology. The cycle of being flooded with early, unprocessed trauma upon remittance of ED symptoms, followed by relapse, reduces the foundation of treatment to shifting sand. Unless the trauma and the ED are treated simultaneously, treatment becomes futile at best: fraught with multiple relapses, behavioral substitutions, feelings of hopelessness, and premature termination.