The Struggles of Eating with Anxiety

Imagine being served with the most sumptuous dish. It can be a plate of the choicest steak served with the finest wine. It can also be a healthful plate of garden salad. You would probably want to dig in and savor each bite but suddenly, you feel your throat dry up, your heart pumps faster than usual, then, you start to sweat and you find it difficult to breathe. Heads up! You must be suffering from an anxiety attack.

Eating Disorder and Anxiety

Mental health practitioners have found that there is a correlation between anxiety and eating disorders. Anxiety is often diagnosed first and soon develops into an eating disorder. Some people have reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety or panic attack during and after eating. Some people are also reported having the tendency to either be aversive or obsessive about food causing either to lose or gain a great amount of weight.

Two of the most commonly known eating disorders are Anorexia and Bulimia. Anorexia or Anorexia Nervosa is a medical condition of self-starvation and excessive weight loss.

Meanwhile, Bulimia is the condition of overeating and then forcing the body to purge the food to lose weight. Both eating disorders involve body image issues and an underlying emotional or psychological problem. Anorexics avoid eating while bulimics struggle with craving for more food and then wanting to remove all those foods again. Often times, bulimics even go to extreme measures like forcing themselves to vomit, fearing they might gain much weight from what they ate.

Anxiety and Meals

For people who have lived with anxiety for a long time, suddenly experience the symptoms during meals can come as a surprise. They recognize the symptoms but they become confused as to why they would feel it during the meal time. They don’t necessarily have body issues but it’s like the act of eating has become a difficult task.

They can’t explain the reason and this brings more frustration. In other cases, anxiety directed to eating disorders has become a form of compensation. Since anxiety is something that is not in the full control of a person, some have instead turned or developed a sense of being in control of their weight. But for someone with anxiety, the practice becomes like an addiction and it goes out of hand eventually. There are instances when a person thinks that the anxiety has all but disappeared but suddenly it is somehow triggered during meals. This goes to show that for a person diagnosed with anxiety, taking precautions is a must.


Since anxiety is found to precede eating disorders, doctors have pointed out that treatment has to be directed accordingly. Being able to keep your anxiety levels on check also helps keep the eating disorders at bay and ultimately be overcome. Treatments like Cognitive-Behavioural and Psychotherapy sessions are said to be effective means to treat both disorders. Practicing self-calming techniques are also helpful. It’s like giving yourself a first-aid by calming your senses. Some of these techniques involve breathing and pausing from any activity. If this does not help, it is always advisable to ask for professional help. It is not a simple thing when anxiety grabs hold of even the most basic activity you will need for your sustenance.

Sign Up for Let's Talk Anxiety encouraging motivational Newsletter!