interaction between self harm & eating disorder?

Discussion in 'Self Harm & Substance Abuse' started by alison, Sep 29, 2010.

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  1. alison

    alison Well-Known Member

    The other day my therapist said something really funny to me - "Did you do any self injury this week, other than binge/purge?"

    It got me thinking.. can eating disorders be considered self injury? I dont know, it seems like a crazy way to look at it. But at the same time, I know I throw up to cope, distract, and destress.. just like self injury. I hide it, just like self injury. It helps in the moment and gives me a "high" feeling, but it quickly wears off and makes me feel worse than I did before, just like self injury.

    I don't know if this applies to restricting (I can't really work how that might work in my head since its more of a sustained behavior), but definitely binging, binge/purging, and even things like laxative abuse seem like they maybe fit that definition.

    Obviously there's still a lot of differences, self injury doesn't come with the preoccupation with your body/fatness/losingweight/etc. But I don't know, what do you guys think?
  2. Madam Mim

    Madam Mim Well-Known Member

    Hi Alison,

    There are many different schools of thought on this one. I personally think that self-injury can cover a lot of things, perhaps including an eating disorder (although I hadn't considered that before) but there are others who insist that the term SI is limited to cutting/burning/etc.

    I have trichotillomania (I pull my own hair out), which I consider to be part of SI, but others with the condition refuse to see it that way, but like you when you induce vomitting, I use trich as a coping mechanism in exactly the same way as cutting.

    I do think it's down to personal interpretation, but in my opinion, an eating disorder, and especially bingeing and purging, can be considered to be SI.

  3. plates

    plates Well-Known Member

    Yes, an ED is self harm.
  4. Landlocked blues

    Landlocked blues Well-Known Member

    Hi hun, i definitely agree. i have recently started not eating not just due to problems with my weight but the pain i feel when im that hungry. im not saying its a good idea but i do do that so yes i agree.
  5. alison

    alison Well-Known Member

    Cool, thanks for the responses. It's interesting to think about.

    I guess its hard though to have a looser definition of self harm, especially from a diagnosing psychs perspective. I mean, from this point of view, can't things like substance abuse be considered self harm? Even things like overshopping and compulsive gambling.. they're all behaviors that temporarily give you that high, but then hurt you in the long run. There's obviously differences still, but I dont' know. I guess it makes sense that different maladaptive behaviors can serve similar purposes.
  6. Viro

    Viro Well-Known Member

    I would definitely say my ED is a form of self-harm.
  7. Born Dead

    Born Dead Member

    Yeah I think it could count, if it serves the same purpose then for sure. I think the only reason EDs have their own diagnostic category is because they're more specific forms of self harm, but they are still self harm nonetheless.
  8. anasgirlx

    anasgirlx Well-Known Member

    I have anorexia and I'm a cutter so I consider BOTH to be self-harm.

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