illness are examples of out-of-control situations, which can trigger anorexia. Restricting food
intake while in the presence of enticing foods, meticulously adhering to arduous rules and
regimens, and successfully losing weight while so many others can't,
evokes feelings of
accomplishment while providing a sense of security.
Eventually, though, anorexics feel even
less in control as they become imprisoned by behaviors and thought patterns that, despite
concerted efforts, they cannot relinquish.
of people struggling with anorexia have a
history of abuse, neglect, or other
, and develop anorexia as a
. In her book, A Hunger
So Wide And So Deep (1996), Becky Thompson not only discusses sexual and physical trauma
and their relationship to eating disorders, but she also illustrates that living in poverty, enduring
acculturation, and suffering racial, sexual, religious, or other forms of discrimination are also
traumatic events which can be contributing factors.
Anorexia is an effective way to cope with difficult circumstances because it serves to
the sufferer from the pain.
Losing weight provides a concrete goal that requires energy,
planning, and effort. The amount of time spent tallying calories, exercising, and thinking about
food is time spent not thinking about pain. Also, many anorexics
experience a "high"
they are at a low weight because only there do they feel a
sense of power and success.
addition to food restriction,
bingeing can both numb and bring comfort.
suggests that the consumption of carbohydrates boosts serotonin levels in the brain, which in turn