Is there a connection between adverse childhood experiences and suffering from an eating disorder in adulthood? What is an adverse childhood experience? Can it be healed? In this podcast, Dr. Castagnini speaks with Dani Williamson about how childhood trauma can affect you and your eating.


Dani owns Integrative Family Medicine in Franklin, TN; focusing on gut, autoimmune thyroid (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is her passion), hormone, and adrenal health with her patients. Her approach embodies a physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual process to healing. A graduate of Vanderbilt University School of Nursing Nurse-Midwifery and Family Nurse Practitioner program. She is on the board of the Middle Tennessee chapter of the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention and believes strongly in addressing issues of adverse childhood trauma and its relation to overall long-term health conditions. Her first book Wild & Well Dani’s 6 Commonsense Steps to Radical Healing is being released November 9, 2021, by Morgan James Publishing
Visit her website. Connect on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and join her private Facebook group. Subscribe to her YouTube channel.


  • Adverse childhood experiences and eating disorders
  • You can get through it
  • Dani’s 6 commonsense steps

Adverse childhood experience and eating disorders

Research has shown that there is often a correlation between people developing eating disorders and having had experienced childhood trauma, especially trauma that has been repressed or has not yet been resolved in adulthood. Adverse childhood experiences can have an impact on how people relate to food, how often or little they eat, what they eat, and what their eating habits are. Since adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are often unconscious, repressed or unresolved in adulthood, they operate under the radar and can cause many adults to form unhelpful or damaging habits as they age. For example, people with ACEs that struggle from eating disorders may binge eat or purge their food when they are feeling emotionally vulnerable.
When people are binge eating, they are soothing anxiety, their fears … depression … all of that is caused by having a high number of ACEs and they’re all linked … I’ve always talked to people [and asked] the whys: why are you turning to food to cope? Why are you turning to food for things other than fuel and nutrition? (Dr. Cristina Castagnini)
If a person who suffers from an eating disorder has a high number of ACEs, it is important and necessary to explore that link, because many people may be suffering unnecessarily and could have their eating disorders healed through working through their trauma.

You can get through it

You’ve come out of it and you have created this wonderful life for yourself and you are helping other people through things, and that’s amazing! I hope that’s inspiring for other people and I hope that other people can hear this and say “wow, she did this and got through whatever she’s been through, I can also get through my pain, my trauma and come out to a place in my life where it’s not going to rule the rest of my life. (Dr. Cristina Castagnini)
It is entirely possible for you to get to a better place in your life and move through the bad spots that hold you back. Releasing old trauma is tough, sometimes ironically, but it is important to do to make space for your future self. Have you considered that your eating disorder may be linked to your childhood trauma? If that is the case, can you release that trauma and work on healing those old emotional wounds to encourage your body to change and heal as well?
Something else is going to come along because it always does, so we’ve got to get prepared now and start working on this body now and healing ourselves literally from the inside out. (Dani Williamson)

Dani's 6 commonsense steps

  • Eat well,
  • Sleep well,
  • Move well,
  • Poop well,
  • Decrease stress, and
  • Cultivate community.
These are Dani’s practical steps in order to help people heal their bodies from the inside out. All the information is available in her upcoming book. DOWNLOAD THE ACE ASSESSMENT HERE!

Books mentioned in this episode:

Dani Williamson - Wild & Well: Dani’s Six Commonsense Steps to Radical Healing Nadine Burke Harris – The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity



I am a licensed Psychologist and Certified Eating Disorder Specialist. While I may have over 20 years of clinical experience, what I also have is the experience of having been a patient who had an eating disorder as well. One thing that I never had during all of my treatment was someone who could look me in the eye and honestly say to me "hey, I've been there. I understand". Going through treatment for an eating disorder is one of the hardest and scariest things to do. I remember being asked to do things that scared me. Things I now know ultimately helped me to get better. But, at the time, I had serious doubts and fears about it. If even one of my providers had been able to tell me "I know it's scary, but I had to go through that part too. Here's what will probably happen...." then perhaps I would not have gone in and out of treatment so many times. My own experience ultimately led me to specialize in treating eating disorders. I wanted to be the therapist I never had; the one who "got it". I will be giving you my perspective and information as an expert and clinician who has been treating patients for over 2 decades. But don't just take my word for it...keep listening to hear the truly informative insights and knowledge guest experts have to share. I am so happy you are here!


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