An eating disorder is a compulsion to eat, or avoid eating, that negatively affects a person’s physical and mental health. Nowadays, these types of behaviours are becoming much more common.
In psychology, these behaviours are viewed as abnormal. But what is abnormal behaviour? It is a huge challenge to find a widely accepted definition of ‘abnormal’ as each individual, culture and country has a different view. To help with these definitional problems, psychologists look at two methods.
Firstly, statistical norms; in this definition of abnormality, behaviours which are seen as statistically rare are labelled as abnormal. Due to this, this method has an obvious flaw – people displaying desirable behaviour such as: being extremely intelligent, are seen to be just as abnormal as those on the opposite end of the scale.
Secondly is a method looking at social norms. Every culture and society has certain standards for behaviour that are acceptable. Behaviour that distinctly deviates away from these norms is considered as abnormal. However as different societies and cultures have different standards, that may change over time, it is not appropriate to use this method alone.
This essay will look at two psychological theories concerning of the origins of Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia. The main focus will be on the psychodynamic theory and the bio-medical theory, and the assumptions of each.
Characteristics and Symptoms
Anorexia Nervosa Bulimia
Significant Weight Loss
Continual Dieting, although already thin.
Fear of gaining weight.
Lack of menstrual periods.
Obsession with food, calories, nutrition, and cooking.
Preference to eat in isolation.
Feelings of fatness, even after weight loss.
Brittle hair and/or nails.
Dry, yellowish skin
Purging – Usually through vomiting.
Use of laxatives or ‘water pills’ to lose weight.
Frequent use of the bathroom after...