Abnormal Psychology

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The Nature of Psychopathology and Abnormal Psychology
The Diagnosis of Mental Disorders

Introduction to the Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are becoming increasingly common but are nothing new to society; they have been around for centuries. Many people often feel the need to be skinny in order to fit into society. A person with an eating disorder is diagnosed when their condition becomes clinically significant and they "suffer from extreme disturbances in their eating behavior that is caused by obsessive or irrational fear of gaining weight." Although, psychological factors and social variables play an important role in the development of this type of disorder. Eating disorders can be a serious type of behavioral problems that can greatly interfere with the well being of an individual, not only can their health be greatly affected, but also their emotional and psychological well being.

Eating disorders are characterized by severe disturbances in an individual's eating behavior. A person with an eating disorder can use eating, purging or food restricting to attempt to cope with problems they may be experiencing. Some underlying issues that could be associated with eating disorders could include low self-esteem, depression, feelings of loss of control, feelings of worthlessness, identity concerns, family communication problems, and an inability to deal with emotions.

Young girls from Western Societies are at a great risk for developing an eating disorder. Society portrays a perfect image to young girls that is unrealistic and fake. Magazines and movies show women to be airbrushed, perfect, and without blemish. Young girls see this image and strive to be like these women. This is an unrealistic view of themselves which often leads to body dysmorphic disorder which leads to eating disorders. Eating disorders cause physical problems along with emotional problems. An eating disorder can actually result in death. Many people who have an eating disorder go away to clinics to try and reverse the bad body image they have.

In the DSM-V, some of the proposed changes include the addition of purging disorder (recurrent purging in the absence of binge eating) and night eating syndrome.

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