EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Body Trust, agitation, and suicidal ideation in a clinical eating disorder sample | Alsana®




EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Body Trust, agitation, and suicidal ideation in a clinical eating disorder sample

  Eating Disorders, Nutrition

First published: 23 July 2020

Perception of the body as unsafe may be related to agitation, and this intolerable sensation could contribute to a desire to end one’s life.

Authored by:

Mary E. Duffy MS | Amy Lieberman BS | Nicole Siegfried PhD | Jennifer R. Henretty PhD |  Garrett Bass BA | Shelbi A. Cox BS | Thomas E. Joiner PhD

Trigger warning:

The aim of this study was to explore the relationships between Body Trust, agitation, and severity of Suicidal Ideation (SI) in a clinical eating disorder sample.

Eating disorder population

  • Individuals with eating disorders are more at risk for suicidal ideation (SI) and suicide attempt than the non-eating disorder individuals; SI affects up to one-half of the eating disorder population


  • Interoception, or the ability to sense, accept, and respond to internal bodily sensations is often disrupted in individuals with eating disorders
    • Interoceptive dysfunction can lead to a feeling of separation or dissociation from the body; the experience can become intolerable.
  • This is significant because when individuals experience acute disconnection from physical experiences a fertile ground for eating disorder behaviors, self-injurious behaviors, or both is created.

Body Trust

  • Body Trust means feeling safe and “at home” in one’s own body; it is one sub facet of interoception.
    • Low Body Trust has been shown to result in increased eating disorder behaviors and SI.


  • Low Body Trust and suicidality are also linked by heightened agitation, a common symptom of Low Body Trust as well as SI.

Bottom line

  • For those experiencing Low Body trust and agitation, the body itself can feel inhospitable or dangerous. Without intervention, this experience may become intolerable to the point of harming one’s own body.
  • Access the full study here.

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If you or a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, please connect with a compassionate counselor today at alsana.com/livechat.

If you are currently experiencing a crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

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