Could A Sensory Processing Disorder Be At The Root of Your Eating Disorder?

The reason eating disorders are so hard to treat is that they are such complex conditions. It is usually a combination of factors that lead up to the "perfect storm" of conditions that cause an eating disorder. Some of these factors are psychological, some are emotional, some are genetic, some are behavioral, and some are environmental.

The more health care providers understand what is at the root of your eating disorder, the better equipped they are to help design a treatment that addresses all these possible factors. That's why it's so important when researchers discover new connections between eating disorders and other conditions.

One recent study published in the "Global Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities" suggests that Sensory Processing Disorders may be linked to eating disorders in some people.

What Is a Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)?

SPDs are when the brain has trouble processing sensory information. For example, someone whose brain has difficulty processing tactile (touch) sensory information may be extremely irritated by rough fabrics, seams, tags are sewn on the inside of their shirt or an unexpected touch from another. A towel might feel soft to you, but to a person with a tactile SPD, it might feel like sandpaper. A hug may feel like an assault.

In some cases, the brain has issues with just one sense; in more extreme cases, it has issues with all five senses. It's commonly found in people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism.

Living with an SDP can be draining because a person lives in perpetual anxiety, worrying about the next trigger that will aggravate his condition. The people around SDP sufferers have often been unsympathetic, seeing the sufferer as a difficult or fussy person who over-reacts.

How Do SPDs Relate to Eating Disorders?

Researchers have noticed that children with SDP often have nutritional deficiencies. This is because eating involves multiple sensory experiences. For some people, certain odors, food textures, or flavors are an unpleasant experience due to SPD. People with SPDs typically have limited food choices because they have aversions to the triggering sensory experiences those foods may cause.

People with eating disorders that involve food avoidance or pica (eating non-food items that have no nutritional value) may have SDP, the researchers theorize. More research is needed in this area, but if SDP is a factor in a person's eating disorder, it will help health care providers diagnose and treat both conditions better.

Sources: Eating Disorder Hope, Juniper Publishers

Photo: Pexels

More Articles

After collating a series of national surveys, the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) estimates that, in America alone, approximately 20...

The most recognizable symbol for eating disorder awareness is the logo for the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). The eating disorder...

Bulimia is a serious eating disorder that usually (but not always) involves binging and purging. Some people who have bulimia don't even realize...

In the first report of its kind outside the US, researchers in the UK have found that the patterns of eating-disorder behaviors found in young...

According to a report by the National Post, children as young as five years old are now experiencing eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia...

More Articles

More Articles

When it comes to the discussion of eating disorders, night eating syndrome is a rarely recognized and often poorly understood condition. Night...

Diuretics are a class of drugs that promote diuresis, a process that increases the production and output of urine. The two most common ways to...

According to a report by the National Post, children as young as five years old are now experiencing eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia...

Binge eating, also called compulsive overeating, is a new diagnostic category within the spectrum of eating disorders. It is defined by the...

Bulimia is a serious eating disorder that usually (but not always) involves binging and purging. Some people who have bulimia don't even realize...

Every year, thousands of amateur and professional athletes struggle with anorexia athletica, a lesser-known eating disorder, and variation of...

The most recognizable symbol for eating disorder awareness is the logo for the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). The eating disorder...

Most descriptions and media representations of bulimia nervosa fixate on binge eating and purging, usually via self-induced vomiting. Although...

If you suspect your child has an eating disorder, you may feel overwhelmed. There are a few things you should know upfront.

First and...

New research shows a link between people with cathartic colon disease and the eating disorder bulimia. Cathartic colon is a dangerous condition...

After collating a series of national surveys, the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) estimates that, in America alone, approximately 20...

Hypoglycemia is a medical term that refers to low blood sugar levels. Usually, this condition is considered a complication of type 1 diabetes. It...

Anorexia, the shorthand name for anorexia nervosa, is an eating disorder that affects millions of people around the world. Even though anorexia is...

Anorexia is a mental and emotional condition, but it can have devastating effects on the body. Health care professionals estimate that only about...

Transgender, lesbian, gay and bisexual students are at greater risk of eating disorders, according to a new study from Brown School at Washington...