Anxiety in Eating Disorders – How Are The Two Related?

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n most cases, anxiety doesn’t directly cause anorexia or bulimia, or any of the other eating disorders that so often plague our young and inexperienced adults today. 

Instead, it may trigger a person to make unhealthy choices due to the stress of dealing with anxiety. Anxiety may also be a catalyst for change or adaptation, but not always.

What is anxiety?

Essentially it is the body’s reaction to perceived threats. It is a normal part of everyday life and serves as a protection for us.

When we are in danger, our bodies activate the flight or fight response; the secretion of neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine and adrenaline causes the heart rate to increase, blood pressure to rise, and the muscles tense up. 

In the absence of a perceived threat, the body’s natural relaxation response is to relax, the breathing rate slow, the heart rate slow, and the muscles relax. This allows us to be secure and protected from harm, even when there is no apparent danger.

What role does anxiety play in eating disorders?

The answer to that question is complicated. An anxiety disorder can harm self-image, motivation, and confidence. In some cases, the anxiety may act as a signal to the person that changes are needed. For example, when a person faces significant changes, such as marriage, career change, or moving, it may prompt them to evaluate what they want to accomplish in life. Or perhaps they face sudden fears that they will not be able to maintain their current job.

Whatever the case, anxiety usually plays a positive role in determining how they will deal with change. However, some anxiety can cause a change in those who suffer from bulimia or binge eating disorders.

It could cause binge eating

Those suffering from this condition may overeat, which then leads to increased feelings of guilt and depression. These feelings cause people to change the way they think about themselves and their food. Thus, they start to eliminate foods that they perceive are bad for them. This can lead to dangerous weight loss, which in turn leads to more severe disorders.

Other anxiety-induced behaviors can include compulsive overeating, purging, and other extreme self-destructive behaviors. It is important to note that what role anxiety plays in eating disorders is not clear. 

Researchers know that many people experience emotional and behavioral problems due to their disorders. Still, it is unclear whether these problems are caused by increased anxiety or if the diseases are driving the situation in the first place. What is clear, though, is that increased stress can complicate and increase the likelihood of developing eating disorders.

Moreover, it is not completely obvious how anxiety affects bulimia and binge eating disorders. Many researchers believe that stress may play a part, although it is unclear how much. 

What is known is that people who have bulimia or binge eating disorders are often overly anxious about what they are doing and how they will get rid of all the extra calories. 

The problem is that when people with these disorders obsess, they often do so to the point where they are harming themselves rather than gaining the benefit or weight they need.

Less social support

One thing that many researchers do agree on, however, is that the role anxiety plays in eating disorders tend to have less social support than people without the complications. 

This can be very problematic for those struggling with their disorder, as they cannot seek help when they need it. This can lead to self-destructive behaviors, such as purging, which can lead to serious health complications.

As previously mentioned, what role anxiety plays in eating disorders is not clear. Some believe that it plays a significant role in the development of bulimia and binge eating disorders. 

Others believe that it only has a minor effect, while others still believe that it does not affect it. However, the reality is that anxiety can increase the severity of depression, which in turn can worsen the patient’s condition. 


If you are suffering from a disorder, you must seek treatment to find the cause of your anxiety and treat it appropriately.

What role anxiety plays in eating disorders is still unknown. Researchers have mapped out how depression and anxiety affect the body, but the link between the two is still unclear. It is also not fully understood how to treat depression and anxiety to keep the patient healthy. 

This means that treating these disorders is also a puzzle, leading to more research and more theories being developed about what causes these disorders. When patients are correctly diagnosed, they can then receive treatment in a variety of clinics.