TEXT: Psychopathology : Foundations for a Contemporary Understanding

Original Question:

For this week's Forum, respond to the following:  What is the primary distinguishing feature between Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa? Review the research findings on societal and familial factors which can contribute to the manifestation and maintenance of these disorders. 

Reply to the following response with 200 words minimum. (please make response as if having a conversation, respond directly to some of the statements in below post. This is not providing an analysis of the original post. Respectfully address it and even ask clarifying or additional questions.)

 While both anorexia nervosa and bulimia are marked by a hyper-drive for thinness and a disturbance in eating behavior, the biggest difference in diagnoses is that anorexia nervosa is a syndrome of self-starvation relating noteworthy weight loss of 15 percent or more of ideal body weight, while patients with bulimia nervosa are, by classification, at normal weight or above. Bulimia is categorized by a cycle of binge-eating, dieting, and compensatory riddance behavior with the goal of preventing weight gain (Winstead & Maddux, 2012). When underweight persons with anorexia nervosa also engage in bingeing and purging behavior the diagnosis of anorexia nervosa surpasses that of bulimia. Excessive exercise aimed at weight loss can manifest in both anorexia nervosa and in bulimia.

Societal factors are characterized by an over-emphasis on thinness either for a belief that it enhances beauty, athletics, or popularity. Women with eating disorders tend to be perfectionistic, eager to please others, sensitive to criticism, and self-doubting while being uncomfortable adapting to change. Eating disorders have many causes which are often triggered by stressful life events, such as relationship difficulties; loss or trauma; physical illness; or a life change such as entering adolescents, starting college, pregnancy, or marriage. Mood disturbance is tremendously common in bulimia nervosa and symptoms of anxiety and tension are frequently experienced. Self-denigrating thoughts might be prevalent whilst low self-esteem and physical self-loathing may have been brought on by a past experience of physical or sexual abuse. Self-harm, commonly by scratching or cutting, is not uncommon(Mennitto, 2015).

An eating disorder might progress in association with another psychiatric illness such as a depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or substance abuse. Current research indicates some people are more genetically predisposed to developing an eating disorder than others. Family and twin studies suggest that genes predispose to an eating disorder and genetic studies are currently underway to attempt to isolate genes involved in the development of eating disorders. Abnormalities in the brain's serotonergic and dopaminergic systems are thought to play a role in the cause and or maintenance of eating disorders (Mennitto, 2015).


Mennitto, D. (2015). Frequently Asked Questions About Anorexia, Bulimia, and Other Eating Disorders – Johns Hopkins. Hopkinsmedicine.org. Retrieved 3 October 2017, from http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/psychiatry/specialty_areas/eating_disorders/faq.html

Winstead, B. A., & Maddux, J. E. (2012). Psychopathology : Foundations for a Contemporary Understanding. New York, NY: Routledge.

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