Understanding Eating Disorders through a Biomedical Model or by Socio-Cultural Analysis

3250 Words Feb 22nd, 2018 13 Pages
‘It’s like I never knew what self-respect was all about until now. The thinner I get, the better I feel…this has become the most important thing I’ve ever done. ‘ (Ciseaux, 1980, p.1468)

Incidences of Anorexia Nervosa have appeared to increase sharply in the USA, UK and western European countries since the beginning of the 60s (Gordon, 2001). The increasing prevalence of the disease has led the World Health Organisation to declare eating disorders a global priority area within adolescent mental health (Becker et al. 2011). Anorexia has in many ways become a modern epidemic (Gordon, 2000) and with a mortality rate of 10% per decade (Gorwood et al. 2003), the highest of any mental disorder (Bulik et al. 2006), it is an epidemic that social and biological scientists have been working tirelessly to understand.
There are several bio-medical definitions of anorexia; The NHS refers to an anorexic as someone who tries to keep their weight as low as possible, by restricting diet, often over exercising and in some cases through the use of laxatives and diuretics (NHS, 2014). The DSM-V definition similarly suggests that anorexia is characterised by a refusal to maintain body weight at or above the minimally normal weight for age and height (DSM-V, 2014). Both definitions highlight an intense fear of gaining weight and a hugely distorted perception…