“She Does It for the Attention!”

One of the biggest, yet controversial mental illnesses in today’s society is eating disorders. While some may argue those who suffer from eating disorders “do it for the attention” or that “eating disorders are not legitimate”, there is indeed a large psychological aspect that plays a role in eating when affected by an eating disorder. The most common types of eating disorders are bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, and binge-eating.

The overarching stem of eating disorders comes from a concept many take for granted in today’s world; control. Before unhealthy eating habits spiral into an eating disorder, there lies reason. With most it boils down to control, and a feeling of lost control in some aspect of their life. Each underlying reason for each disorder differs. In a recent article published by the American Psychological Association, “anorexia tends to develop in those who are perfectionists, while bulimic patients are usually impulsive”. Eating disorders are also more prone to occur in those who struggle with depression, anxiety, and poor body image perception. That is just the basis of eating disorders and why they occur in the first place. There is a much bigger science and chemical reaction that takes place in the brain when looking at those affected.

In the brain, we have dopamine, or the “feel-good” neurotransmitter. The human brain is filled with millions of tiny particles; neurons, that are responsible for transmitting different messages to different areas of the body. In a recent study from the Scientific American, 14 people from each category: those who previously suffered from anorexia, those who suffered from bullemia, and those who did not struggle with eating disorders at all, were selected and examined at a closer look. The study found that those who had struggled with anorexia had less dopamine/ feel good chemicals in their brain, (specifically in the gustatory cortex) released when treated with sugary foods… “The researchers believe these abnormal responses to sugar predispose people to eating disorders, adding to a growing body of work suggesting that genetic and biological risk factors underlie most cases”. Although from this experiment we are able to prove causation, it is important to realize the reverse causation possible as wScreen Shot 2015-09-29 at 11.30.10 AMell. This data was definitely accurate and well conducted as it was experimental AND observational. Eating disorders are not always biological but after damaging the body through repeated abuse, we can change our bodies responses to sugary foods.

A recent article in a reliable post from Futures, Palm Beach post tells, “An individual who suffers from anorexia nervosa has developed very specific habits concerning their eating, exercise routines, and even the thoughts they have about their body and their relationship to the outside world. These thoughts and routines change the brain.” Reverse causation is clearly proven in this article, making social causes AND biological causes a spark in eating disorders.

Although some may think that eating disorders are not real, or are all about getting attention, it’s important to realize that this is 99% of the time not the case. In fact, in today’s society, it is one of the most common mental disorders especially with our increase in technology and reliance on social media for tips / fashion advice. That being said, be more mindful of your surroundings! Don’t just assume.

Although there is are a lot of resources for those who struggle with eating disorders, it still remains one of the most controversial and skeptic mental disorders. However, after seeing the science behind the brain as well as the social aspect of the disorder, it is clear that there is more to an eating disorder than just the food itself.

image: https://www.minnpost.com/health/2012/02/eating-disorder-patients-fight-double-battle-their-disorder-and-insurance-firms

















3 thoughts on ““She Does It for the Attention!”

  1. Carolina Cancela

    I definitely respect this issue, especially because I know a handful of people who suffer from these eating disorders. I love how you incorporated the experiment and also included a psycho analyzation of the people who do suffer from these disorders, so your audience has a better understanding of what is going on in their minds. Just to take this post further or maybe even have add a second post over the same subject, you can talk about how maybe technology is a growing third factor. I think due to our present culture and our dependency on technology a majority of females feel like they need to be meeting standards or are being constantly evaluated. I definitely believe this is true because time after time, I watch girls bully themselves as they compare themselves to Victoria Secret Models on the runway show, or look at the Kardashian’s on Instagram and want to mirror them more closely.
    Just something to think about! Really cool blog post

  2. Erin Ann Alessandroni

    Colby, I think that the title of you blog post was a great attention grabber. I was thoroughly interested in what you article would consist of- good job! The information you included about the need for control over something in one’s life reminded me of a quote from one of my favorite books, “It’s Kind of a Funny Story” by Ned Vizzini. It reads, “The absolute worst part of being depressed is the food. A person’s relationship with food is one of their most important relationships. I don’t think your relationship with your parents is that important. Some people never know their parents. I don’t think your relationship with your friends are important. But your relationship with air-that’s key. You can’t break up with air. You’re kind of stuck together. Only slightly less crucial is water. And then food. You can’t be dropping food to hang with someone else. You need to strike up an agreement with it.” I think that this quote is extremely profound and interesting and brings up the complex relationship between depression and eating disorders that you alluded to in your post. An article on Web MD explains that, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidneys, almost half of all patients diagnosed with binge eating disorder have experienced depression. This article also brings up another interesting point that relates to something we talk about in class- reverse causation. Depression may lead to eating disorders; however, eating disorders may also lead to depression. Being severely malnourished “can cause physiological changes that are known to negatively affect mood state”. These physiological changes correlate with your hypothesis that eating disorder’s are more often then not unavoidable by the patient and not just a cry for attention.

  3. Holly Rubin

    I completely respect how you wrote about such a big issue in society. I know that it’s crazy to think how inconsiderate people can be towards people with problems such as these expressed in your blog. I am always interested to learn about the spark that causes people to develop an eating disorder. I am also really curious if it can possibly be a disorder that people are born with that develops more over time, or if it strictly forms due to the environment and other factors. I also want to crack down on the myth that only females get eating disorders. Although it’s more common in females, 1 in 10 males can suffer from eating disorders. (http://www.anad.org/get-information/about-eating-disorders/eating-disorders-statistics/)

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