Personality Disorders and Eating Disorders: Exploring the Frontier

Personality Disorders and Eating Disorders: Exploring the Frontier

Personality Disorders and Eating Disorders: Exploring the Frontier

Personality Disorders and Eating Disorders: Exploring the Frontier


Personality Disorders and Eating Disordersexplores and defines the multifaceted relationship between these two fields in a cogent synthesis of prevalence, etiology, and treatment. The book brings together leading specialists in both fields, with a clinical focus on such topical issues as genetics, drug abuse, and childhood trauma--as they relate to each field and as they affect the relationship between the two disorders. Therapists who treat eating disorders will find the material on treatment approaches especially helpful in formulating interventions with particularly difficult patients. Therapists who work with patients with personality disorders will find that the interface between personality and eating disorders is relevant to various aspects of self-destructive behavior observed in these individuals.

This unique book enhances the assessment and treatment of individuals suffering from personality disorders and eating disorders, and it augments the understanding of both populations, while establishing a foundation for discussing each as they interface with one another.


The juncture between personality disorders and eating disorders truly remains one of the challenging frontiers in the eating disorders field. Almost all eating disorder clinicians have pondered this perplexing relationship and grappled with the treatment implications of working with patients with both eating and personality psychopathologies. We first attempted to globally explore this frontier in a special edition of the journal Eating Disorders: The Journal of Treatment and Prevention. It is not surprising that this special edition generated even more questions for us, which served as the impetus for this edited book on personality disorders and eating disorders.

In developing a strategy for this volume, we intentionally sought to blend together two disciplines of experts—those anchored in the field of personality pathology and those anchored in the field of eating disorders. In doing so, we anticipated an elite volume consisting of a unique merger of talented and well-qualified experts in their respective fields. We believe that we have achieved this.

In the first chapter of this volume, Martina Jovev and Henry Jackson provide a robust introduction to personality conceptualization and the intricacies of personality disorder diagnosis. These authors dialogue categorical versus dimensional models of personality assessment, the difficulty of assessing maladaptiveness in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Axis II disorders, and the role of cultural influences on personality. In the second chapter, we review the prevalence of personality disorders among those with eating disorders and provide a literature-review-based summary.

Chapters 3 and 4 explore some of the etiological issues related to personality disorders and eating disorders. Given that many Axis II disorders appear to have various degrees of genetic predisposition, the focus is on other aspects of etiology. Angela Favaro and Paolo Santonastaso discuss the intriguing coexistence of impulsive and compulsive personality . . .

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