eating disorders

eating disorders, in psychology, disorders in eating patterns that comprise four categories: anorexia nervosa, bulimia, rumination disorder, and pica. Anorexia nervosa is characterized by self-starvation to avoid obesity. People with this disorder believe they are overweight, even when their bodies become grotesquely distorted by malnourishment. Bulimia is characterized by massive food binges followed by self-induced vomiting or use of diuretics and laxatives to avoid weight gain. Some anorexic patients combine bulimic purges with their starvation routine. These disorders generally afflict women—particularly in adolescence and young adulthood—and are much less common among men. Some researchers believe that anorexia and bulimia are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain; one study has linked bulimia to deprivation of tryptophan, an amino acid used by the body to make the neurotransmitter serotonin. Others contend that these disorders are rooted in societal ideals that value slenderness. Rumination disorder generally occurs during infancy, and involves repeated regurgitation accompanied by low body weight. Infants suffering from rumination disorder may re-ingest the regurgitated food. Pica, also found primarily among infants, is characterized by eating various non-nutritive substances like plaster, paint, or leaves. Obesity is not generally considered an eating disorder, since its causes tend to be physiological.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Etiology and Treatment of Bulimia Nervosa: A Biopsychosocial Perspective
Craig Johnson; Mary E. Connors.
Basic Books, 1987
Handbook of Eating Disorders: Physiology, Psychology, and Treatment of Obesity, Anorexia, and Bulimia
Kelly D. Brownell; John P. Foreyt.
Basic Books, 1986
Librarian’s tip: Part III "Bulimia"
Handbook of Psychological Treatment Protocols for Children and Adolescents
Vincent B. Van Hasselt; Michel Hersen.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 13 "Bulimia Nervosa"
Child Psychopathology: Diagnostic Criteria and Clinical Assessment
Stephen R. Hooper; George W. Hynd; Richard E. Mattison.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1992
Librarian’s tip: "Bulimia Nervosa" begins on p. 264
Correlates of Bulimia Nervosa: Early Family Mealtime Experiences
Miller, Debra A. F.; McCluskey-Fawcett, Kathleen; Irving, Lori M.
Adolescence, Vol. 28, No. 111, Fall 1993
Am I Thin Enough Yet? The Cult of Thinness and the Commercialization of Identity
Sharlene Hesse-Biber.
Oxford University Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "From Disorderly Eating to Eating Disorder: The Cultural Context of Anorexia and Bulimia"
Contemporary Rorschach Interpretation
J. Reid Meloy; Marvin W. Acklin; Carl B. Gacono; James F. Murray; Charles A. Peterson.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "A Psychotic and Bulimic Female Adolescent" and Chap. 20 "Bulimia as a Neurotic Symptom: A Rorschach Study"
A Systemic Treatment of Bulimia Nervosa: Women in Transition
Carole Kayrooz.
Jessica Kingsley, 2001
Client Pretreatment Characteristics as Predictors of Outcome in Brief Therapy for Bulimia
Guiffrida, Douglas A.; Barnes, Kristin L.; Hoskins, Christine M.; Roman, Lisa L.
Journal of College Counseling, Vol. 4, No. 1, Spring 2001
Anorexia and Bulimia in the Family: One Parent's Practical Guide to Recovery
Grá Inne Smith.
John Wiley & Sons, 2004
Conversations about Illness: Family Preoccupations with Bulimia
Wayne A. Beach.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1996
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