Bulimia Nervosa: Abnormal Psychology One Term Paper

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Bulimics can be under, over, or of normal weight. Bulimia is also distinguished from binge eaters who do not engage in compensatory behavior afterwards.

The numbers of people suffering from bulimia is difficult to determine. "Research suggests that about four percent (4%), or four out of one hundred, college-aged women have bulimia. About 50% of people who have been anorexic develop bulimia or bulimic patterns" ("Statistics: How many people have eating disorders?" ANRED, 2007). Other estimates range around 3% (Rowan, 2006). The causes of Bulimia Nervosa are even more difficult to pinpoint. Some therapists believe that "the pressure to be thin and resulting abnormal eating patterns that are regarded as normal are probably partly to blame," and individuals in appearance-conscious jobs or weight-conscious sports such as wrestling, gymnastics, and running, have a higher incidence of bulimia (Rowan, 2006). Also, Western countries have higher rates of eating disorders than non-Western countries, and exposure to Western media correlates to a higher incidence of eating disorders in non-Western countries (Statistics: How many people have eating disorders?" ANRED, 2007).

But not all individuals exposed to the pressure to be thin develop full-blown eating disorders. The reasons for developing bulimia are thus likely to be both personal well as cultural. However, unlike some psychiatric disorders, the consequences of this eating disorder are dangerously physical and psychological.
Stomach acid can dissolve tooth enamel, leading to decay, vomiting and laxative abuse can cause severe electrolyte imbalances, and cause heart problems because of the loss of potassium, and even rupture of the stomach can occur (Rowan, 2006). Treatment of bulimia is often multifaceted, can include drug treatment in the form of SSRIs like Prozac to raise serotonin levels as bulimia is often seen in some treatment models as a form of self-medicating for depression or anxiety. Cognitive Behavioral therapy may help sufferers find more effective models of coping with negative feelings ("Eating Disorders," Psych 394, 2007).

Works Cited

Anorexia Nervosa" Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth

Edition, Text Revision. American Psychiatric Association.2000.7 May 2007. http://www.poppink.com/dsmiv/7.html

Bulimia Nervosa." Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth

Edition, Text Revision. American Psychiatric Association.2000. 7 May 2007. http://www.poppink.com/dsmiv/13.html

Eating Disorders." Psych 394 PowerPoint Lecture. University of Texas Psychology

Homepage. 7 May 2007. http://homepage.psy.utexas.edu/HomePage/Class/Psy394Q/Behavior%20Therapy%20Class/Eating%20Disorders.ppt#271,1,Obesity

Rowan, Peter. "Introducing Bulimia Nervosa." The Priory. 2006. 7 May 2007. http://www.psychiatrist4u.co.uk/htm/bulimi.htm

Statistics: How many people have eating disorders?" ANRED: Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders, Inc. 2005. Page updated February 6, 2007. 7 May 2007. http://www.anred.com/stats.html.....

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