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Military Sexual Trauma. PTSD and Eating Disorders

Despite high rates of comorbidity between posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and disordered eating, there is little in the way of empirical research or practice guidelines to inform the treatment of these frequently co-occurring disorders. Clinicians who provide treatment for this patient population must navigate complicated decisions about whether these problems are best treated concurrently or sequentially, and which treatment approaches and modalities are most appropriate for the patient. The current clinical case describes the treatment of a female soldier who was admitted to a 25-day, trauma-focused inpatient program 3 months after she experienced military sexual trauma. Although treatment initially targeted her PTSD symptoms, she later disclosed her ongoing struggles with disordered eating, which raised complex questions about the most effective treatment approach. This case study illustrates the intricate link between PTSD and disordered eating, and highlights important clinical considerations relevant to the assessment and treatment of these commonly comorbid disorders.

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