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Psychological explanations for anorexia nervosa
There are two main types of eating disorders:-
Both share a strong drive to be thin.
They are largely female problems
Largely westernised problems Largely an upper social class problem
... Many die as a result!
ANOREXIA NERVOSA [AN] [nervous loss of appetite]
Clinical characteristics of anorexia nervosa:-
There are 4 criteria for anorexia:-
Key characteristics of anorexia are the anxiety
associated with the disorder and excessive fear of being
fat. People with anorexia are not simply obsessed with
weight but fearful of weight gain.
Weight loss is considered abnormal when it drops below 85% of the individual's
normal weight, based on age and height.
People with anorexia develop unusual eating habits such as avoiding foods and
Carefully weighing and portioning food.
Individuals may repeatedly check their body weight.
Many engage in techniques to control their weight, such as compulsive exercise.
3. Body image distortion
People with anorexia don't see their own thinness and deny the seriousness of
Deny the seriousness of their body weight.
They often continue to see themselves as fat despite their bones being clearly
This means `cessation of menstrual periods'
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The absence of periods for more than 3 months is a clinical characteristic of
anorexia in girls who have begun menstruation.
The lack of menstrual cycle is caused in these cases by inadequate nutrition.
Cultural ideals and the media
It's a widely held belief that western standards of attractiveness are an important
contributory factor to the development of Anorexia Nervosa.…read more
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Crawford  looked at the mechanism of teasing and found that overweight
girls and underweight boys were most likely to be teased by their peers. This
suggests that teasing can enforce gender-based ideas/
Bruch's psychodynamic theory
Hilde Bruch  suggested the origins of AN are in early childhood.
She distinguished between `effective' and `ineffective' parents.
Children of ineffective parents may grow up confused about their internal
needs- they become reliant on parents.…read more