Essay Co-occurrence of Anxiety Disorders and Eating Disorders

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Co-occurrence of Anxiety Disorders and Eating Disorders

I. Introduction

Considering the growing preoccupation of teenage girls with their weight and their bodies, eating disorders have become even more of a concern. In light of the fact that mortality in anorexia nervosa is among the highest of all psychiatric disorders, it is increasingly important to understand what causes eating disorders and how best to treat them (Herzog et al., 1996). A meaningful area of research to consider when trying to understand eating disorders is comorbidity. Such psychiatric disorders such as anxiety disorders, affective disorders, personality disorders, and substance abuse have been found to coexist, at least to some degree, with the eating
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The DSM-IV outlines five criteria for bulimia nervosa (APA, 1994). One, there are recurrent episodes of binge eating. Binge eating is defined as eating in a discrete period of time an amount of food that is definitely larger that most people would consume in a similar period of time. The binge eating must also be characterized by a sense of lack of control over eating. Two, there are recurrent inappropriate compensatory behaviors in order to prevent weight gain such as self-induced vomiting, the misuse of laxatives or diuretics, fasting, or excessive exercise. Three, the binge eating and inappropriate compensatory behavior both occur, on average, at least twice a week for three months. Four, self-evaluation is unduly influenced by body shape and weight. Five, the disturbance does not occur exclusively during episodes of anorexia nervosa. There are two types of bulimia nervosa: the purging type (the person regularly engages in self-induced vomiting or the misuse of laxatives or diuretics) and the nonpurging type (the person uses other compensatory strategies such as fasting or excessive exercise).

Anxiety is defined as “a mood state characterized by marked negative affect and somatic symptoms of tension in which a person apprehensively anticipates future danger or misfortune” (Durand & Barlow, 1997). There are many disorders which fall under the heading

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