What is the connection between sexual abuse and developing an eating disorder? Abuse shatters the sacred innocence of the child and can become a primary trigger of an eating disorder. The victim of sexual abuse becomes plagued with confusion, guilt, shame, fear, anxiety, self-punishment, and rage. The person seeks the soothing comfort, protection, and anesthesia that food offers. Food, after all, is the most available, legal, socially sanctioned, cheapest mood altering drug on the market! And bingeing, purging, starving, and chronic dieting are mood altering behaviors that help detour, divert, and distract a person from inner pain.