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Guilt Complex: Why You’re Always Feeling Guilty

Guilt impacts people in many ways. While it’s common (and normal) to feel remorseful about a mistake or poor behavior, some people struggle with inappropriate, extreme feelings of guilt. Guilt is an emotion most of us experience at some point in our life, but constant, unrelenting guilt may be a sign of something more, something known as a guilt complex.What is guilt complex, and what can you do if you or someone you care about is always feeling guilty? Read on to learn more. Guilt is typically a response to an action or inaction, but it’s possible to feel guilty about events you weren’t involved with.

A guilt complex can cause intense and frequent guilty feelings that aren’t connected to specific events. Someone with a guilt complex may experience one or more types of guilt. There are several types of guilt you may be feeling. Understanding how each might be affecting you can be helpful in learning how to best deal with this often-destructive emotion.You may have a guilt complex if you’re always feeling guilty or if your guilt is interfering with your day-to-day life.

Some major indicators of a guilt complex might include:“As the symptoms of a guilt complex continue, it can lead to increases in anxiety, depression, stress, and issues with self-esteem. Oftentimes, these outcomes go hand in hand with guilt complex issues. Learning how to manage and overcome a guilt complex can take working with professionals to help you understand and come to terms with feelings and thoughts.” Know the signs.

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[Self-Test] Eating Disorders in Children and Teens
Eating disorders like anorexia nervosa (AN), bulimia nervosa (BN), and binge-eating disorder (BED) typically begin in adolescence, but they are increasingly seen in younger children.Researchers have linked the rise of eating disorders in children and teens to the pandemic and the ongoing youth mental health crisis, among other stressors.12Social media may also play a role in driving body image dissatisfaction and negative comparison among teens.3 What’s more, children and teens with conditions like anxiety, depression, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are at greater risk for developing eating disorders.4 ,5Eating disorders are complex but treatable conditions. Early detection greatly improves recovery and health outcomes.If you are concerned that your child is showing signs of an eating disorder like AN, BN, or BED, answer the questions below and share the results with your child’s pediatrician or a licensed mental health professional who is experienced in diagnosing and treating eating disorders.If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, contact the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) for support, resources, and treatment options. Call or text NEDA at 800-931-2237 or visit to reach a NEDA volunteer.This self-test was adapted from materials provided in “Identification and Management of Eating Disorders in Children and Adolescents” published by the American Academy of Pediatrics.