Abnormal Psychology - - Eating Disorders

Before we begin
• Key terms
– Binge eating: To eat uncontrollably a (seemingly)
large amount of food
– Purge: To remove recently eaten food, either
through vomiting or laxatives
• To cleanse or remove
– Nervosa
• According to a 2002 survey, 1.5% of Canadian women aged
15 – 24 years had an eating disorder
• Female:Male = 8:1
• Children learn (unhealthy) mainstream attitudes towards
food and weight at a very young age. In a study of five-yearold girls, a significant proportion of girls associated a diet
with food restriction, weight-loss and thinness.
• Thirty-seven percent of girls in grade nine and 40% in grade
ten perceived themselves as too fat. Even among students
of normal-weight (based on BMI), 19% believed that they
were too fat, and 12% of students reported attempting to
lose weight.
• General Eating Disorder: A problem with food in some
• Anorexia Nervosa: (Anorexia, or AN)
• an eating disorder where a person does not have a healthy body
weight because they are scared of becoming overweight.
• They will refuse to eat enough and always see themselves as fat
• Bulimia Nervosa: (BN)
• out of control eating, followed by a desire to get rid of the calories
eaten, and will purge or use laxatives to remove it.
• Eating Disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS)
Other eating disorders
• Purging Disorder – Frequent purging (no
• Binge eating disorder – Frequent binging
escapades (no purging)
• Diabulimia – Manipulation of Insulin to control
• Rumination Syndrome – involves regurgitation
of food and re-eating or discarding it
• General Eating Disorder:
• Genetic predisposition
• Environment
• Society
– Fashions and expectations for looks
• Low self-Esteem
– Feel bad about yourself
– Feel guilty about eating
Eating Disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS)
What causes Anorexia?
• Usually caused by a diet or starvation: too little
• Genetic predisposition is thought to run in
• Dysfunctional Family
• Traumatic Experiences, such as rape *
• People with Anorexia are often overachievers and
focus on pleasing people, and view themselves
more harshly.
• Control
I felt very empowered by being able to do it. I
felt like my personal hero for being able to
control my body in that way and deny myself
food and the enjoyment of eating.
Development of Bulimia Nervosa
Culture – what society thinks is “beautiful”
Hereditary – genetic predisposition
Stress – from life and can trigger it *
Personality – low self-worth
Changes in hormones
The first time I ever threw up, I had been hating my
body, hating my body and hating my body-for years... I
stopped watching TV, put down my bag of Fritos and
just sort of, in this drugged stupor, walked downstairs
and pulled back my braids and threw up.
Psychologist’s theories
• Freud considered eating disorders to be some
form of oral fixation, but didn’t elaborate on it
very much
• Maslow thought that eating disorders
occurred in people who had low self-esteem
(level 4)
• Anorexia:
– Anorexia can cause menstruation to stop, it often
leads to bone loss, and loss of skin health. The
disorder stresses the heart and increases the risk
of death
• This is caused by malnutrition
• AN has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric
illness – it is estimated that 10% of individuals with
AN will die within 10 years of the onset of the
AN – symptoms continued
• Russell’s signs – from purging
Heart rate problems
Slow heart rate (bradicardia)
• Bulimia Nervosa:
– Out of control eating
– Purging follows
– People are afraid they will gain weight and this leads
– Holding off on food
– Then the need to gorge because of the great hunger
– Now all the calories taken in lead to the need to get
rid of them by purging.
– Eating becomes very irregular and it feels out of
control for the person
Bulimia Symptoms
Abdominal pain
Energy Loss
Loss of menstrual cycle in women
Plus health problems like:
– Teeth decay and gum disease, voice damage, face swelling
– Dehydration, muscle loss, brittle skin, hair loss, ↑ BP,
anemia - malnutrition
– Old
– Bulimia also causes great health problems, which include
dehydration, hyponatremia, laxative dependence,
• Treatment involves:
– A person has to want to do it
– Getting the anorexic to a healthy weight through
proper eating that meets dietary needs
– Treating the psychological issues related to eating
– Getting rid of the behaviors that could cause the
person to become anorexic again.
– A stay in a hospital can take upwards of a month
for full treatment
• Treatments for bulimia involve:
– Counseling and support
– Anti-depressant and anti-psychotic drugs *
– Usually must be in rehab for at least a month
– This could be expensive in the U.S.
Part of the journey of getting better for
the child or the spouse, or whomever has
the eating disorder... that person is going
to have to find herself or himself. And
that's the journey to recovery.
• It is important to support people who might
have a tendency to develop an eating disorder.
• People who are at risk of developing eating
disorders need encouragement and positive
reinforcement from family and friends
• If there is less pressure to look a certain way,
then I believe that people would feel less
pressured to look a certain way
• Both bulimia and anorexia are the misuse of food to resolve
emotional problems.
• Bulimia Nervosa, just like Anorexia Nervosa, takes people’s
lives. We need to be very observing of our family members
and our friends, especially because these conditions are easy
to hide and patients never admit to anything.
This is something I haven’t used yet,
http://www.pbs.org/perfectillusions/index.html - personal stories
http://www.state.sc.us/dmh/anorexia/statistics.htm - US stats
http://www.umm.edu/patiented/articles/how_serious_anorexia_nervosa_000049_5.htm - QRS
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0887/is_8_19/ai_64714672/ - study
http://www.nedic.ca/knowthefacts/statistics.shtml - Canadian stats and thoughts
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anorexia_nervosa -self explanatory
http://helpguide.org/mental/anorexia_signs_symptoms_causes_treatment.htm ***

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