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Bulimia and Family Dynamics

  • By: Anita Sinicrope Maier
  • In: Encyclopedia of Family Health
  • Edited by: Martha Craft-Rosenberg & Shelley-Rae Pehler
  • Subject:Family Health, Family Policy, Family Law

Eating disorders are potentially life-threatening illnesses with physical, emotional, genetic, and societal components. Anorexia nervosa has the highest death rate of any mental illness—estimated at up to 20% over time. Cardiac arrest, kidney failure, and suicide comprise some of the most common causes of death in both anorexia and bulimia. Although these two illnesses may sometimes exhibit different symptoms, personality traits, and family dynamics, the similarities often outnumber the differences. It is not unusual for anorexia to evolve into bulimia or binge eating disorder and evolve back to anorexia during the course of the illness.

This entry begins with a discussion of the effects of eating disorders on families. Next, the common types of eating disordered families are presented. Lastly, treatments for eating disorders are addressed.

Implications ...
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