Anorexia nervosa

This particular model recognises the importance of the unconscious, and of childhood, traumatic experiences. Some evidence for repression has been found, supporting the model and its repression theory. The mode is effective whilst being used in therapy, as the patient feels no blame for the disorder. On the other hand, the model is unscientific and relies on anecdotal evidence, whilst also ignoring biological factors. The model always refers to past experiences yet shows no consideration for present experiences or for social /environmental factors and genetic factors. Another negative point for this model is that patients without verbal skills cannot be treated by psychoanalysis. The model also has too much weight attached to sexual features.

The psychodynamic model was the first systematic model of abnormality that focused specifically on psychological factors as the cause of mental disorder and on psychological forms of treatment. Before Freud, all explanations of mental illness were in terms of physical causes or ideas such as possession by evil spirits. Consider how attempts to define abnormality might be influenced by cultural differences

Cultural relativism means that value judgements are relative to individual cultural contexts and we cannot make absolute statements about what is normal or abnormal in human behaviour. Notations of abnormality may vary from one culture to another, and within the same culture at different periods in history. We cannot judge behaviour properly unless it is viewed in the context of the culture in which it originates.

The importance of cultural context can be seen in the seven features of abnormality proposed by Rosenhan and Seligman. Many of the features (for example, vividness and unconventional behaviour, irrationality incomprehensibility, observer discomfort) refer to behaviour that is defined by the social norms or expectations of the culture.

On the other hand Rosenhan and Seligman identified some features that were universal indicators of undesirable behaviour – both for the individual concerned and those around them. Failure to eat, chronic depression, fear of going outdoors, and anti-social behaviour would be seen as undesirable behaviours in any culture. Furthermore all societies would want to offer some form of help for the individual, suggesting that there are some universal indicators of abnormality. Some abnormalities may be absolute, which is the same frequency in all cultures. Universal means that the behaviour appears in all cultures but not with the same frequency. Relative means that it is unique to a particular culture.

Consider two models of abnormal behaviour in terms of their views on the causes of abnormal behaviour Evaluate attempts to explain the causes of anorexia nervosa One of the two main eating disorders is anorexia nervosa and there are four criteria for anorexia nervosa. Weight, anxiety, body image distortion, and amenorrhoea. Over 90% of patients are female and the age of onset is typically during adolescence. There has been an increase in frequency of anorexia nervosa in Western societies in recent decades (Cooper, 1994). This probably reflects the growing media emphasis on the attractiveness of slimness in young women. Anorexia nervosa used to be very rare among Black people in the United States but recently has shown an increase (Hsu, 1990). Within Western cultures, it is more common in middle-class than working class individuals. It is potentially a very serious disorder and can produce physiological changes, causing about 5% of sufferers to die.

The biological approach argues that the cause of anorexia nervosa is genetic. However, a case study on MZ and DZ twins have shown that not all MZ had the disorder, which means that the disorder means that other factors are important as well as the inherited genes. If it was solely due to genes, the case study would have shown 100% of MZ twins to have had the disorder. The growth in anorexia nervosa has increased recently which also suggests that it is not entirely due to genes as the rates would be similar throughout history.

The psychodynamic approach argues that as the disorder generally emerges in adolescent girls, anorexia is related to the onset of sexual development and sexual fears, such as increasing sexual desires or a fear of becoming pregnant, even a fear of becoming pregnant orally. If eating is linked to getting pregnant, then semi-starvation will prevent pregnancy. Not eating results in amenorrhoea, which again prevents pregnancy because ovulation stops. There is some evidence, which shows that at least some people with eating disorders were sexually abused as children. This may lead them to reject and to destroy their own bodies, and would support a link between anorexia nervosa and sexual development. Though, there is little scientific evidence to show this link.

The behavioural approach argues that anorexia nervosa can be explained using the principles of classical conditioning. According to Leitenberg et al (1968), anorexics may have learned to associate eating with anxiety, because eating too much makes people overweight and unattractive, therefore they seek to lose weight to reduce their anxiety. Weight loss is associated with relief from an unpleasant or aversive stimulus. Operant conditioning also comes in to play with the behavioural approach, as food avoidance can be rewarding or reinforcing, because it’s a good way of gaining attention. It can also be rewarding or reinforcing in that those who are slim are more likely to be admired by other people, for example supermodels. This approach helps to provide some of the reasons why anorexics maintain their disorders.

The cognitive approach argues that people with eating disorders typically have distorted views about body shape and weight, these are known as cognitive biases. Garfinkel and Garner (1982) found that anorexic patients typically over-estimate their body size. Distorted beliefs about body size and shape are even found in those who are not suffering from an eating disorder. Fallon and Rozin (1985) asked males and females to indicate their ideal body size and the body size that would be most attractive to the opposite sex. Females rated their ideal body weight as significantly lower than the weight males thought the most attractive, whereas males rated their ideal body weight as lower that the weight mist women found attractive. These differences place extra pressure on women to be slim. Females with anorexia overestimate their body size due to faulty thinking, but then again the faulty thinking is due to the anorexia.

Much research has been completed on this disorder, and results indicate a strong familial undercurrent. Many individuals with Anorexia come from over controlling families where nurturance is lacking. Studies suggest that sexual abuse survivors are more prone to the disorder, …

Eating has always been considered an enjoyable social activity. However, in the current situation society is increasingly becoming concerned with body weight, exercise and nutrition. This increased obsession and awareness about body weight and structure has led to an increase …

We eat food for our survival while for some; food is a form of leisure, still for some, food becomes a destructive force overpowering their thoughts, feelings and actions leading to serious eating disorders. People may find themselves experiencing disturbances …

We are all wondering what is Anorexia? Is it a disease that can get cured? Does it have any side effects? These are all questions that lately people are asking, so this science essay is about Anorexia Nervosa I will …

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