Chapter 15 - Chapter 15- Women and Mental Health Issues...

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Chapter 15- Women and Mental Health Issues Body Image and Eating Disorders o Anorexia and Bulimia Morbid fear of fat, relentless drive for thinness, obsession with size and shape Lots of overlap between anorexia and bulimia o Anorexia nervosa - an eating disorder characterized by over-control of eating for purposes of weight reduction, sometimes to the point of starvation o Bulimia - an eating disorder in which the person binges on food and then purges the body of the calories by vomiting or using laxatives o Statistics about anorexia 90% of reported cases are female Increasing among men especially in fitness/athletic culture Up to 10 million women and 1 million men in the US are “fighting a life and death battle” with anorexia or bulimia Race and ethnicity Becoming common across groups Under-diagnosed in people of color due to stereotypes Number of people with eating disorders is increasing Poor health insurance coverage for treatment Major stigma against eating disorders no longer exists among American public, but, sufferers’ shame and denial make it hard to get help o Culture bound syndromes Syndrome is an exaggeration of normal attitudes and behaviors in a culture Slippery slope Most women in the US don’t feel good about their body Women’s self- esteem correlated with body esteem (not for men) Narrow definition of beauty (includes extreme thinness)
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o Globalization and eating disorders Eating disorders begin spreading after the introduction of Western media (i.e.- Fiji and Guatemala) o Antecedents/Risk Factors (including biological factors, personality traits- perfectionism and low self esteem, traumatic life events, and a culture that is obsessed with thinness) #1 risk factor- being born female in a western country Strongest antecedents Body dissatisfaction o Begins in puberty o Normal-body fat increases 125% o Onset of dieting/restricting behaviors Self-esteem o Dips for girls in adolescence Anxiety o Tends to persist after recovery Gender role o 90% of reported cases are in girls/women Biological causes - Anorexics have many disturbances in their biological functioning (problem is that physicians never see these people until they are already anorexic. At that point, it is not clear whether the physiological problems are the cause of the anorexia or the result of the starvation) Likely that it is the result Personality traits - perfectionism is a vulnerability, that combined with just the right stressor- such as a belief that one is overweight or a comment from a coach that one is getting too heavy leads to the development of an eating disorder Traumatic life events - may predispose a girl to an eating disorder, or may precipitate an eating disorder in a girl who is vulnerable for some other reason (patients with eating disorders are considerably more likely to have a history of child sexual abuse than healthy controls)
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Culture’s obsession with thinness
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Chapter 15 - Chapter 15- Women and Mental Health Issues...

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