Eating disorders include cognitive elements of psychosomatic type because the actors express their feelings through the symptom. In fact, they make any representations through the BODY, intolerable. These disorders are characterized by abnormal eating behavior and are a way to express their inner suffering, focusing on the relationship that the person has with food and body.

The food in fact, is not only a source of energy for our body, but can assume different meanings and have a particular relevance for eating disorders. For people with eating disorders, food is always at the center of their thoughts and influences strongly their lives.

For example, for anorexics food is a tool that allows them to “acquire” power, being able to do without food is a demonstration of independence and self-sufficiency, its refusal is the concrete representation of what they hear and feel.

For obese people, food can be comforting to have a function in the most difficult moments, or it can be a way to overcome loneliness. The bulimic people in fact, eat all the time in relation to emotion and not hunger.

These eating disorders are classified by the DSM IV and divided in 3 main categories:

  • ANOREXIA NERVOSA
  • BULIMIA NERVOSA
  • NOT SPECIFIED EATING DISORDERS
  1. A) The first category is mainly characterized by:
  • Body weight below normal
  • Intense fear of gaining weight
  • Altered perception of their body’s image
  • Amenorrhea (loss of menstrual periods).

We also find 2 subgroups:

  • RESTRICTIVE ANOREXIA: are those who eat little or nothing, do fad diets or excessive exercise.
  • ANOREXIA -BULIMIA: are those who regularly binge, then compensate with excessive exercise or purging behavior (self-induced vomiting, misuse of laxatives, diuretics, etc ….).
  1. B) The second category is characterized by:

Recurrent binge eating (usually these are high calorie foods) followed by compensatoryactivities (fasting, excessive exercise) or purging. Unlike anorexic-bulimic, they manage to maintain a higher body weight. Usually these binges happen in secret from others, and are due to: depressed mood states, stress conditions, famine after a drastic diet, feelings of dissatisfaction. The bulimic crisis is due to loss of control.

In this case there are, also, 2 subgroups:

  • BULIMIA with purging.
  • BULIMIA without purging (corresponding to ‘OBESITY’).
  1. C) The third category is represented by those disorders that reflect both the context of anorexia and bulimia, with some variation. For example menstrual periods appears (there is no true anorexia) and there are not so frequent binge as is the case of bulimia. Among these disorders also appear DISORDERS of binge eating (this is the case for most obese people) that affect more women than men. However, compared to anorexia and bulimia, men are more numerous.

PSYCHOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS of a person who has an eating disorder:

Compared to the BODY:

  • excessive attention to the body
  • disturbance of body schema
  • distorted perception of hunger and satiety
  • dysfunctional beliefs on nutrition and metabolism

Compared to a DEFICIT OF SELF- AWARENESS:

Compared the ENVIRONMENT: there is the question of the INVASION – INTRUSIVENESS

of JUDGMENT

 

of EXPECTATIONS AND DISAPPOINTMENTS

of PERFECTION

of SEXUALITY

Precipitating factors: these are the factors that increase the risk of developing eating disorders. Precipitating, because a normal event (eg. Adolescence) is rather lived with another meaning, which can precipitate the situation. Everything depends on the meaning that a person gives to a certain event. These factors can be summarized as follows:

STRICT DIET

PUBERTY

LEFT HOME or take a trip ALONE

RECEIVE  UNPLEASANT COMMENTS REGARDING YOURSELF

MOURNING

ILLNESS

COUNSELING