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Neuro-divergence and Eating Disorders

  • Eating

Not only don’t many people know what neurodivergence means, they also may not realize that many neurodivergent people also have eating disorders. My guess is that you’re more likely to recognize the terms ADHD (yes, ADHD), autistic, autism spectrum disorder, and (the no longer in use) diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome. You may even be neurodivergent and never have considered that you’re not what’s called neurotypical. 

In fact, it’s much harder for neurodivergent folks to deal with food and food problems than someone more neurotypical. So, some facts about neurodiversity and eating disorders which will hopefully help you and anyone you know who fits into this category better manage their eating and their life. “Neurodiversity represents the idea that the ways that humans interact socially, mentally, and cognitively can vary drastically from person to person. This term is often used in relation to those diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). ASD is commonly diagnosed by the presence of varying associated symptoms such as difficulties in social situations, rigidity in thinking, sensory stimulus sensitives, and preference for routine. Similar behaviors such as social isolation during meals, over-stimulation at dining tables, hyperawareness of body, rigidity with eating behaviors, and avoidant/restrictive eating are often seen in those diagnosed with both neurodiversity and eating disorder.” “Studies show that nearly 20 percent of individuals diagnosed with avoidant or restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID) also have autism. A research analysis showed that individuals with anorexia nervosa report higher rates of autistic traits. Female-identifying individuals with ADHD are nearly four times more likely to develop an eating disorder.” This is a highly enlightening article on how intuitive eating, emotional management, and physical activity can be especially hard for neurodivergent people. 

If you or someone in your life is struggling with an eating disorder, please consider that part of your or their difficulty may include the issue of neurodiversity. Then, find out more about it and its treatment.