The Positive And Negative Aspect Of Their Disorder

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When I first saw the title and abstract to the articles required for this class, I read with disbelief the idea that anorexia nervosa (AN) or bulimia nervosa (BN) can be seen as having positive effects on an individual. To me, this was a foreign concept and had never crossed my mind. The exploratory studies required 18 (AN) and 30 (BN) participants who have been diagnosed with AN or BN to write two letters; one to their disorder as a friend and the other as a foe. From these letters, the researchers analyzed and coded certain phrases and then divided these into pros and cons. While I believe this study contains many flaws, it is interesting to see how they can describe both the positive and negative aspect of their disorder. After reading through the articles, I began to understand the perception of control and power that these participants may feel. While it may be maladaptive behaviors, as an individual with a mental disorder, they believe that they are gaining something distinct from their behavior –whether it be the feelings of superiority of succeeding in losing weight where others have failed or it being the one thing they can control in their life. Another aspect that I think it is important to discuss, is the descriptors that were used in creating the ‘eating disorder persona’ – for lack of a better term. The individuals in Dying to Be Thin were described by professionals as “harm avoidant”, “perfectionists”, and “controlled”. To me, this indicates a point in
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