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  1. #1

    What's the relation between eating disorders and anxiety disorders?

    I read somewhere that eating disorders are actually anxiety disorders, arising from stressful situations in which you lack control. In order to cope w/ the symptoms of anxiety the person restricts their food intake or engages in other ed behaviours in order to gain some control back. Then the psychological & neurological aspects interact to make the occurence of a full- blown ed more likely. It also said that higher than average serotonin levels put you at a greater risk for developing an ed.

    Is any of this true? :?

  2. #2

    Re: What's the relation between eating disorders and anxiety disorders?

    I suspect there's some truth in that. Like OCD, some of the behaviors are about attempts to impose order, predictability, "control" over an environment that feels basically chaotic, unpredictable, and out of control.

  3. #3

    Re: What's the relation between eating disorders and anxiety disorders?

    at first this made no sense to me- the part about the anxiety but the more I've thought about it, the more it makes sense. but then if it really is like an anxiety disorder or is an anxiety disorder, why are they so difficult to treat? I don't agree at all that behavioral therapy alone will 'do the trick' but why shouldn't it if you can treat anxiety or a phobia w/ behaviour therapy and do so quite effectively? is everyone who's struggling w/ an ed struggling a lot b/c of the interplay of so many factors, or are there actually people who have a clear-cut ed, get some kind of treatment- and are 'cured'?? I don't know, to me the only way that would make sense is if the person hasn't had the ed for a very long time and it's not very engrained and they have a lot of support around them early on.

  4. #4

    Re: What's the relation between eating disorders and anxiety disorders?

    Personally I'm not convinced that you can effectively treat the anxiety spectrum disorders with behaviot therapy alone. For example, I think the "accepted wisdom" regarding treatment of panic disorder and OCD fails in at least as many cases as it works.

    I think the person needs to be looked at more holistically and less as a "disorder", and the treatment approach should be designed with that in mind.

  5. #5

    Re: What's the relation between eating disorders and anxiety disorders?

    I guess hence the critique of behaviour therapy being a 'symptom cure', yet failing to adress any underlying issues or ongoing factors in those cases where it isn't as clear cut as just eliminating the symptom.

    I still find it interesting to think of an ed as an anxiety disorder though... kind of puts a different perspective on it. I don't know if it really matters though to the person w/ the ed, more than to the clinician or researcher- besides from recognizing the anxiety and learning to deal w/ it better? but again, sounds very 'simplistic' and it's not.


  6. #6

    Re: What's the relation between eating disorders and anxiety disorders?

    Maybe it depends on how you conceptualize concepts like "anxiety", "chaos", "predictability", "control". It doesn't seem simplistic to me at all. It's very complex. It's also universal.

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