Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-797576ffbb-lm8cj Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2023-12-02T16:17:38.583Z Has data issue: false Feature Flags: { "corePageComponentGetUserInfoFromSharedSession": true, "coreDisableEcommerce": false, "useRatesEcommerce": true } hasContentIssue false

23 - Eating disorders and body dysmorphic disorder

from Part IV - Women and specific disorders

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2018

Sandeep Ranote
Affiliation:
Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
Andrea Phillipou
Affiliation:
Postdoctoral Research Fellow at St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne
Susan Rossell
Affiliation:
Director of the Centre for Mental Health and a Professor of Cognitive Neuropsychology at Swinburne University
David Castle
Affiliation:
Psychiatry at St Vincent's Health Australia and the University of Melbourne
Get access

Summary

‘Who wants to recover? It took me years to get that tiny. I wasn't sick; I was strong.’

– Laurie Halse Anderson (2011)

Jo's story

Looking back, I didn't think I was ill at the start. I felt in control and I felt good because I was thin, which made me feel strong and successful. Aren't all successful women thin and beautiful?

That was when I was 15 years old; at 19, I know that none of that is true. I did have an illness, a real illness that hit me in secondary school, preparing for important exams while also breaking up with my first boyfriend.

I thought I wasn't beautiful enough for him and the breakup meant that I also lost my peer group at the time. I felt alone, under pressure and hated myself. I started to diet, like most people do, and joined the gym. I started getting results, which for me was important, in the same way exams were. I lost weight and saw this as positive, so I began to do more exercise, eat less and stopped eating sugary and fatty foods. I didn't see my headaches and dizziness as a problem, I just thought I needed to sleep more. But eventually I wasn't sleeping and my grades began to drop. I felt tired and low and remember sometimes having thoughts that I no longer wanted to live.

I didn't understand why my parents were anxious and arguing with each other about me. They could see something was wrong but I couldn't see it; they tried to talk to me but I couldn't hear them. When I fainted, I was taken to hospital, and this was when I accepted and started treatment with a specialist eating disorder team, who became almost part of our family. They gave not only me much needed support but also the whole family.

My message to you all is that there is hope and you can get help. Don't delay, share your concerns, get the treatment and don't let this illness steal your life.

Eating disorders

Self-starvation in women is not a modern phenomenon. Medieval women in the 13th century believed it would lead to sainthood, sometimes referred to as ‘anorexia mirabilis’.

Type
Chapter
Information
The Female Mind
User's Guide
, pp. 146 - 154
Publisher: Royal College of Psychiatrists
Print publication year: 2017

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×