Topics on This Page
Eating disorders affect individuals from all walks of life; but there are certainly groups and demographics that are more susceptible to eating disorders and disordered behavior due to the different challenges, environment and lifestyles they experience than other individuals and groups.
Why LGBT Individuals are Predisposed to Eating Disorders
While research on this topic has only reached the surface, there is a great deal of evidence showing that eating disorder rates among the LGBT population are relatively high, typically outranking eating disorder rates among the heterosexual population. LGBT individuals are exposed to several stressors and risk-factors for developing eating disorders including:
- Stress, pressure and fear from “coming out” to family, friends, peers and society in general.
- Fear of rejection or having an intense need to fit in with society.
- Internal battles with gender-identity, sexual orientation and confusion about self-identity in general. Low self-esteem, self-hatred, guilt and shame often revolve around individuals with identity issues.
- Experiencing discrimination, hatred, bullying and abuse from others.
- Suffering from anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, post-traumatic stress disorder and other issues that often affect individuals confused about sexual identity, or those who are unable to express their true identity to others.
- Lacking supportive resources from individuals, family, groups and organizations who oppose homosexuality and other non-mainstream sexual preferences and orientations
- Experiencing pressure to meet the cultural standards of the LGBT community. Wanting to be socially accepted so much that one strives to fit a certain body image and possess distinct traits of the stereotypical LGBT individual.
LGBT Issues Can Trigger Eating Disorders and Addictive Behaviors
It is common for LGBT individuals to experience negative emotions due to their sexual identity or orientation by some person or group at some time in their lives. These issues can have a direct effect on how the individual feels about themselves which can impact poor and even distorted body image. Negative emotions and experiences related to one’s sexual identity can also cause individuals to feel bad about themselves, something that they cannot control. As a result, these individuals may desire to regain this control, by changing things they can control. While an LGBT individual may feel shame for their sexual identity or orientation, they can translate these inadequacies and insecurities into creating a body or physical appearance that is accepted by others. In cases of addiction, victimization and isolation can also cause LGBT individuals to seek eating disorders and other addictive behaviors and substances in order to cope or self-medicate.
Eating Disorder Treatment and Recovery Options for LGBT Individuals
If you are looking for treatment and recovery options for you or a loved one’s eating disorder, you may call our toll-free number for help. We are here 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help find and connect you with the programs and services that are right for you and your unique recovery needs. We are dedicated to helping people find individualized treatment and recovery services, to inhibit long-term recovery success instead of a temporary “fix”. We have connections to the top-rated treatment centers, including those that specialize in LGBT individuals, since individuals in this community struggle with similar issues that influence eating disorders and other addictive behaviors. To learn more about your options for treatment and recovery, call our toll-free number and speak with a recovery professional today.