Advertisements
Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘self appraisal’


Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders

Writer and Curator: Larry H. Bernstein, MD, FCAP 

 

Introduction

Anorexia nervosa is a stress related disorder that occurs mainly in women, closely related to bulimia, and is related to self-esteem, or to a preoccupation with how the individual would like to see themselves. It is not necessarily driven by conscious motive, but lies in midbrain activities that govern hormonal activity and social behavior

 

Eating disorders

Christopher G Fairburn, Paul J Harrison
Lancet 2003; 361: 407–16

Eating disorders are an important cause of physical and psychosocial morbidity in adolescent girls and young adult women. They are much less frequent in men. Eating disorders are divided into three diagnostic categories: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and the atypical eating disorders. However, the disorders have many features in common and patients frequently move between them, so for the purposes of this Seminar we have adopted a transdiagnostic perspective. The cause of eating disorders is complex and badly understood. There is a genetic predisposition, and certain specific environmental risk factors have been implicated. Research into treatment has focused on bulimia nervosa, and evidence-based management of this disorder is possible. A specific form of cognitive behavior therapy is the most effective treatment, although few patients seem to receive it in practice. Treatment of anorexia nervosa and atypical eating disorders has received remarkably little research attention.

Eating disorders are of great interest to the public, of perplexity to researchers, and a challenge to clinicians. They feature prominently in the media, often attracting sensational coverage. Their cause is elusive, with social, psychological, and biological processes all seeming to play a major part, and they are difficult to treat, with some patients actively resisting attempts to help them.

Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are united by a distinctive core psychopathology, which is essentially the same in female and male individuals; patients overevaluate their shape and weight. Whereas most of us assess ourselves on the basis of our perceived performance in various domains—eg, relationships, work, parenting, sporting prowess—patients with anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa judge
their self-worth largely, or even exclusively, in terms of their shape  and weight and their ability to control them. Most of the other features
of these disorders seem to be secondary to this psychopathology and to its consequences—for example, self-starvation. Thus, in anorexia nervosa there is a sustained and determined pursuit of weight loss and, to the extent that this pursuit is successful, this behavior is not seen as a problem. Indeed, these patients tend to view their low weight as an accomplishment rather than an affliction. In bulimia nervosa, equivalent attempts to control shape and weight are undermined by frequent episodes of uncontrolled overeating (binge eating) with the result that patients  often describe themselves as failed anorexics.  The core psychopathology has other manifestations; for example,  many patients mislabel certain adverse physical and emotional states as feeling fat, and some repeatedly scrutinize aspects of their shape,
which could contribute to them overestimating their size.

Panel 1: Classification and diagnosis of eating disorders

Definition of an eating disorder

  • There is a definite disturbance of eating habits or weight- control behavior
  • Either this disturbance, or associated core eating disorder features, results in a clinically significant impairment of physical health or psychosocial functioning (core eating disorder features comprise the disturbance of eating and any associated over-evaluation of shape or weight)
  • The behavioral disturbance should not be secondary to any general medical disorder or to any other psychiatric condition

Classification of eating disorders

  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Atypical eating disorders (or eating disorder not otherwise specified)

Principal diagnostic criteria

  • Anorexia nervosa
  1. Over-evaluation of shape and weight—ie, judging self-worth largely, or exclusively, in terms of shape and weight
  2. Active maintenance of an unduly low bodyweight—eg, body-mass index 17·5 kg/m2
  3. Amenorrhea in post-menarche females who are not taking an oral contraceptive. The value of the amenorrhea criterion can be questioned since most female patients who meet the other two diagnostic criteria are amenorrheic, and those who menstruate
    seem to resemble closely those who do not
  • Bulimia nervosa
  1. Over-evaluation of shape and weight—ie, judging self-worth largely,
    or exclusively, in terms of shape and weight
  2. Recurrent binge eating—i.e., recurrent episodes of uncontrolled overeating
  3. Extreme weight-control behavior—e.g., strict dietary restriction, frequent self-induced vomiting or laxative misuse

Diagnostic criteria for anorexia nervosa are not met

  • Atypical eating disorders

Eating disorders of clinical severity that do not conform to the diagnostic criteria for anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa

Research into the pathogenesis of the eating disorders has focused almost exclusively on anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. There is undoubtedly a genetic predisposition and a range of environmental risk factors, and there is some information with respect to the identity and relative importance of these contributions. However, virtually nothing is known about the individual causal processes involved, or about how they interact and vary across the development and maintenance of the disorders.

 

Panel 3: Main risk factors for anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa

  • General factors
  1. Female
  2. Adolescence and early adulthood
  3. Living in a Western society
  • Individual-specific factors

Family history

  • Eating disorder of any type
  • Depression
  • Substance misuse, especially alcoholism (bulimia nervosa)
  • Obesity (bulimia nervosa)

Premorbid experiences

  • Adverse parenting (especially low contact, high expectations, parental discord)
  • Sexual abuse
  • Family dieting
  • Critical comments about eating, shape, or weight from family and others
  • Occupational and recreational pressure to be slim Premorbid characteristics

Low self-esteem

  • Perfectionism (anorexia nervosa and to a lesser extent bulimia nervosa)
  • Anxiety and anxiety disorders
  • Obesity (bulimia nervosa)
  • Early menarche (bulimia nervosa)

There has been extensive research into the neurobiology of eating disorders. This work has focused on neuropeptide and monoamine (especially 5-HT) systems thought to be central to the physiology of eating and weight regulation. Of the various central and peripheral abnormalities reported, many are likely to be secondary to the aberrant eating and associated weight loss. However, some aspects of 5-HT function remain abnormal after recovery, leading to speculation that there is a trait monoamine abnormality that might predispose to the development of eating disorders or to associated characteristics such as perfectionism. Furthermore, normal dieting in healthy women alters central 5-HT function, providing a potential mechanism by which eating disorders might be precipitated in women vulnerable for other reasons.

Specific psychological theories have been proposed to account for the development and maintenance of eating disorders. Most influential in terms of treatment have been cognitive behavioral theories. In brief, these theories propose that the restriction of food intake that characterizes the onset of many eating disorders has two main origins, both of which may operate. The first is a need to feel in control of life, which gets displaced onto controlling eating. The second is over-evaluation of shape and weight in those who have been sensitized to their appearance. In both instances, the resulting dietary restriction is highly reinforcing. Subsequently, other processes begin to
operate and serve to maintain the eating disorder.

 

Depression, coping, hassles, and body dissatisfaction: Factors associated with disordered eating

Rose Marie Ward, M. Cameron Hay
Eating Behaviors 17 (2015) 14–18
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eatbeh.2014.12.002

The objective was to explore what predicts first-year college women’s disordered eating tendencies when they arrive on campus. The 215 first-year college women completed the surveys within the first 2 weeks of classes. A structural model examined how much the Helplessness, Hopelessness, Haplessness Scale, the Brief COPE, the Brief College Student Hassle Scale, and the Body Shape Questionnaire predicted eating disordered tendencies (as measured by the Eating Attitudes Test). The Body Shape Questionnaire, the Helplessness, Hopelessness, Haplessness Scale (inversely), and the Denial subscale of the Brief COPE significantly predicted eating disorder tendencies in first-year college women. In addition, the Planning and Self-Blame subscales of the Brief COPE and the Helplessness, Hopelessness, Haplessness Scale predicted the Body Shape Questionnaire. In general, higher levels on the Helplessness, Hopelessness, Haplessness Scale and higher levels on the Brief College Student Hassle Scale related to higher levels on the Brief COPE. Coping seems to remove the direct path from stress and depression to disordered eating and body dissatisfaction.

Eating disorders and disordered eating on college campuses are a pervasive problem. Research estimates that approximately 8–13.5% of college women meet the criteria for clinically diagnosed eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulima nervosa, or eating disorders not otherwise specified. In addition, negative moods and stress seem to relate eating disorders. Diagnosable eating disorders emerge in the broader context of disordered eating, that is — engaging in practices such as restricting calories, eating less fat, skipping meals, using nonprescription diet pills, using laxatives, or inducing vomiting. Whereas disordered eating is broadly associated with the dynamics of human development in adolescence in the United States and the socio-cultural pressure to be thin, college environments may particularly predispose young women to disordered eating. In a national survey, 57% of female college students reported trying to lose weight, while only 38% of female college students categorized themselves as overweight.

The mean for the overall EAT scale was 8.89 (SD=9.26, mode=2, median = 6, range 0 to 60). Over 13% (n = 22) of the sample met the criteria for potential eating disorders with overall scores of 20 or greater. One primary model was tested using the quantitative measurement data. The model fit the data, χ2 (n = 191, 72) = 89.33, p = .08, CFI N .99, TLI = .99, and RMSEA = .035.

Note: Only significant paths shown; *p < .05; **p < .01; ***p < .001; HHH = Helplessness, Hopelessness, Haplessness Scale; Hassles = Brief College Student Hassle Scale; EAT = Eating Attitudes Test-26; BSQ = Body Satisfaction Questionnaire; CFI = Comparative Fit Index; TLI = Tucker-Lewis Index; RMSEA = Root Mean Squared Error of Approximation.

Structural modeling predicting eating disorder tendencies

Structural modeling predicting eating disorder tendencies

Structural modeling predicting eating disorder tendencies. Note: Only significant paths shown; *p < .05; **p < .01; **p < .001; HHH = Helplessness, Hopelessness, Haplessness Scale; Hassles = Brief College Student Hassle Scale; EAT = Eating Attitudes Test-26; BSQ = Body Satisfaction Questionnaire; CFI = Comparative Fit Index; TLI= Tucker–Lewis Index; RMSEA = Root Mean Squared Error of Approximation.

By identifying the risk factors through research, interventions can be developed that empower people to take control of their own eating behavior. This kind of intervention is supported by the finding that those students with more agentive, active coping styles, or who did not report frequent experiences of helplessness, haplessness, and hopelessness were less likely to have disordered eating behaviors. Whereas active coping has been associated with lower disordered eating in some studies (e.g., Ball & Lee, 2000), others suggest a more complicated relationship between denial or avoidant coping and disordered eating.

 

The cognitive behavioral model for eating disorders: A direct evaluation in children and adolescents with obesity

Veerle Decaluwe, Caroline Braet
Eating Behaviors 6 (2005) 211–220
http://dx.doi.org:/10.1016/j.eatbeh.2005.01.006

Objective: The cognitive behavioural model of bulimia nervosa. The clinical features and maintenance of bulimia nervosa. In K.D. Brownell, and J.P. Foreyt (Eds.), Handbook of eating disorders: physiology, psychology and treatment of obesity, anorexia and bulimia (pp. 389–404). New York: Basic Books.] provides the theoretical framework for cognitive behavior therapy of Bulimia Nervosa. For a long time it was assumed that the model can also be used to understand the mechanism of binge eating among obese individuals. The present study aimed to test whether the specific hypotheses derived from the cognitive behavioral theory of bulimia nervosa are also valid for children and adolescents with obesity. Method: The prediction of the model was tested using structural equation modeling. Data were collected from 196 children and adolescents.  Results: In line with the model, the results suggest that a lower self-esteem predicts concerns about eating, weight and shape, which in turn predict dietary restraint, which then further is predictive of binge eating.
Discussion: The findings suggest that the mechanisms specified in the model of bulimia nervosa is also operational among obese youngsters. The cognitive behavioral model of Bulimia Nervosa (BN), outlined by Fairburn, Cooper, and Cooper (1986), provides the theoretical framework for cognitive behavior therapy of BN (Fairburn, Marcus, & Wilson, 1993; Wilson, Fairburn, & Agras, 1997). According to this model, over-evaluation of eating, weight and shape plays a central role in the maintenance of BN. It is assumed that over-concern in combination with a low self-esteem can lead to dietary restraint (e.g. strict dieting and other weight control behavior). However, the rigid and unrealistic dietary rules are difficult to follow and the eating behavior is seen as a failure. Moreover, minor dietary slips are considered as evidence of lack of control and can lead to an all-or-nothing reaction in which all efforts to control eating are abandoned. This condition makes people vulnerable to binge eating. In order to minimize weight gain as a result of overeating, some patients practice compensatory purging (compensatory vomiting or laxative misuse).

The present study aimed to directly evaluate the model among a population of children and adolescents suffering from obesity. It is justified to study this model in a group at-risk. Binge eating is [V. Decaluwe´, C. Braet / Eating Behaviors 6 (2005) 211–220] not restricted to adulthood and is recognized among children with obesity as well (Decaluwe´ & Braet, 2003). Even in childhood, associated eating and shape concerns and comorbid psychopathology are manifest. Until now, little is known about how the risk factors for BED operate. A case-control study by Fairburn et al. (1998) reported a number of adverse factors in childhood, carrying a higher risk of developing BED, including negative self-evaluation, parental depression, adverse experiences (sexual or physical abuse and parental problems), overweight and repeated exposure to negative comments about shape, weight and eating. Moreover, it seems that childhood obesity is not only a risk factor for developing BED, but also one of the risk factors for the development of BN (Fairburn, Welch, Doll, Davies, & O’Connor, 1997). If Fairburn’s model is able to predict binge eating in an obese population, we can discover how the risk factors are related to one another and how they are operating to predict disordered eating among obese youngsters.

To conclude, in the present study, we were interested whether the cognitive behavioral theory would predict disordered eating in a young obese population. Because the study focuses on subjects at risk for developing binge-eating problems, BED or BN, we considered the cognitive behavioral theory as a risk factor model for eating disorders rather than a model for the maintenance of eating disorders.

  1. Method

2.1. Design

The prediction of the models was evaluated using structural equation modeling (LISREL 8.50; Jo¨reskog & So¨rbom, 2001). The dependent variables were binge eating, over-evaluation of eating, shape and weight, and dietary restraint. The independent variable was self-esteem. Purging behavior was not included in the structural equation modeling since binge eating among children occurs in the absence of compensatory behavior. Next, it is worth noting that the concept of self-esteem is implicit in the original cognitive model of BN. In order to compare the present research with the study of Byrne and McLean (2002), self-esteem was included in the evaluation of the model.

A sample of 196 children and adolescents with obesity (78 boys and 118 girls) between the ages of 10 and 16 participated in the study (M=12.73 years, SD=1.75). All subjects were seeking help for obesity. The sample consisted of children seeking inpatient or outpatient treatment. All children seeking inpatient or outpatient treatment between July 1999 and December 2001 were invited to participate. The response rate was 72%. Children younger than 10 or older than 16 and mentally retarded children were excluded from the study. All participating children obtained a diagnosis of primary obesity. The group had a mean overweight of 172.69% (SD=27.09) with a range of 120–253%. The study was approved by the local research ethics committee. The subjects were visited at their homes before they entered into treatment. Informed consent was obtained from both the children and their parents. Two subjects (1%), both female, met the full diagnostic criteria for BED and 18 subjects (9.2%) experienced at least one binge-eating episode over the previous three months (overeating with loss of control), but did not endorse all of the other DSM-IV criteria that are required for a diagnosis of BED.

To conclude, in the present study, we were interested whether the cognitive behavioral theory would predict disordered eating in a young obese population. Because the study focuses on subjects at risk for developing binge-eating problems, BED or BN, we considered the cognitive behavioral theory as a risk factor model for eating disorders rather than a model for the maintenance of eating disorders.

A two-step procedure was followed to construct the measurement model. We first conducted a confirmatory factor analysis on the variance–covariance matrix of the items of the exogenous construct (independent latent variable) b self-esteem Q. The construct b self-esteem Q is composed of 5 items of the Global self-worth subscale of the SPPA. Goodness-of-fit statistics were generated by the analysis. Items with poor loading (absolute t-value = 1.96) were removed. This resulted in a satisfactory model, χ2 (2)=6.23, p=0.04, GFI=0.97, AGFI=0.87 after omitting 1 item. The parameter estimates between the observed items and the latent variable ranged from 0.49 to 0.88.

Self-esteem was highly negatively correlated with over-evaluation of eating, weight and shape (standardized ϒ=-0.59, t=-5.05), indicating that higher levels of concerns about eating, weight and shape were associated with a lower self-esteem. Over-evaluation of eating, weight and shape, in turn, was shown to be significantly related with dietary restraint (standardized β=0.70, t=2.71), indicating that more concerns about eating, weight or shape were associated with higher levels of dietary restraint. Finally, dietary restraint was significantly associated with binge eating (standardized β=0.45, t=2.14), indicating that higher levels of dietary restraint were associated with a higher level of binge eating. The feedback from binge eating to over-evaluation of eating, weight and shape was not significant. Overall, the results appeared to suggest that a lower self-esteem predicts concerns over eating, weight and shape, which in turn predict dietary restraint. This would then be predictive of binge eating.

To our knowledge, this was the first study that directly evaluated the CBT model of BN among children. Overall, the model was found to be a good fit of the data. The main predictions of the model were confirmed. We can conclude that the CBT model provides a relatively valid explanation of the prediction of binge-eating problems in a young obese sample. Three findings supported the model and one finding did not confirm the model.

First, in line with the model, the construct self-esteem was a predictor of the over-evaluation of eating, weight and shape. This finding is also consistent with findings of Byrne and McLean (2002) and previous research in children and adolescents, which also found an association between over-concern with weight and shape and a lower self-esteem.

Second, the over-evaluation of eating, weight and shape, in turn, was a direct predictor of dietary restraint. Our findings were in line with prospective studies that found that thin-ideal internalization and body dissatisfaction (components of the over-evaluation of shape and weight) had a significant effect on dieting. Our findings also support the cross sectional study of Womble et al. (2001), who found a direct association between body dissatisfaction and dietary restraint among obese women. As in adults, children seem to respond in the same manner by dieting to lose weight. To our knowledge, the relationship between over-evaluation and dietary restraint has never been explored before among children with obesity.

Third, in accordance with the CBT model of BN, the key pathway between dietary restraint and binge eating was confirmed: higher levels of dietary restraint were associated with higher rates of binge eating. It seems that the subjects of this study were not able to maintain their dietary restraint.

 

Transdiagnostic Theory and Application of Family-Based Treatment for Youth With Eating Disorders

Katharine L. Loeb, James Lock, Rebecca Greif, Daniel le Grange
Cognitive and Behavioral Practice 19 (2012) 17-30

This paper describes the transdiagnostic theory and application of family-based treatment (FBT) for children and adolescents with eating disorders. We review the fundamentals of FBT, a transdiagnostic theoretical model of FBT and the literature supporting its clinical application, adaptations across developmental stages and the diagnostic spectrum of eating disorders, and the strengths and challenges of this approach, including its suitability for youth. Finally, we report a case study of an adolescent female with eating disorder not otherwise specified (EDNOS) for whom FBT was effective. We conclude that FBT is a promising outpatient treatment for anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and their EDNOS variants. The transdiagnostic model of FBT posits that while the etiology of an eating disorder is unknown, the pathology affects the family and home environment in ways that inadvertently allow for symptom maintenance and progression. FBT directly targets and resolves family level variables,  including secrecy, blame, internalization of illness, and extreme active or passive parental responses to the eating disorder. Future research will test these mechanisms, which are currently theoretical.

 

The Evolution of “Enhanced” Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Eating Disorders: Learning From Treatment Nonresponse

Zafra Cooper and Christopher G. Fairburn
Cognitive and Behavioral Practice 18 (2011) 394–402

In recent years there has been widespread acceptance that cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is the treatment of choice for bulimia nervosa. The cognitive behavioral treatment of bulimia nervosa (CBT-BN) was first described in 1981. Over the past decades the theory and treatment have evolved in response to a variety of challenges. The treatment has been adapted to make it suitable for all forms of eating disorder—thereby making it “transdiagnostic” in its scope— and treatment procedures have been refined to improve outcome. The new version of the treatment, termed enhanced CBT (CBT-E) also addresses psychopathological processes “external” to the eating disorder, which, in certain subgroups of patients, interact with the disorder itself. In this paper we discuss how the development of this broader theory and treatment arose from focusing on those patients who did not respond well to earlier versions of the treatment.

In recent years there has been widespread acceptance that cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is the treatment of choice for bulimia nervosa (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, 2004; Wilson, Grilo, & Vitousek, 2007; Shapiro et al., 2007). The cognitive behavioral treatment of bulimia nervosa (CBT-BN) was first described in 1981 (Fairburn). Several years later, Fairburn (1985) described further procedural details along with a more complete exposition of the theory upon which the treatment was based (1986). This theory has since been extensively studied and the treatment derived from it, CBT-BN (Fairburn et al., 1993), has been tested in a series of treatment trials (e.g., Agras, Crow, et al., 2000; Agras, Walsh, et al., 2000; Fairburn, Jones, et al., 1993). A detailed treatment manual was published in 1993 (Fairburn, Jones, et al.). In 1997 a supplement to the manual was published (Wilson, Fairburn, & Agras) and the theory was elaborated in the same year (Fairburn).

According to the cognitive behavioral theory of bulimia nervosa, central to the maintenance of the disorder is the patient’s over-evaluation of shape and weight, the so-called “core psychopathology” [Fig. 1 – not shown – schematic form the core eating disorder maintaining mechanisms (modified from Fairburn, Cooper, & Shafran, 2003 )]. Most other features can be understood as stemming directly from this psychopathology, including the dietary restraint and restriction, the other forms of weight-control behavior, the various forms of body checking and avoidance, and the preoccupation with thoughts about shape, weight, and eating (Fairburn, 2008).

The only feature of bulimia nervosa that is not obviously a direct expression of the core psychopathology is binge eating. The cognitive behavioral theory proposes that binge eating is largely a product of a form of dietary restraint (attempts to restrict eating), which may or may not be accompanied by dietary restriction (actual undereating). Rather than adopting general guidelines about how they should eat, patients try to adhere to multiple demanding, and highly specific, dietary rules and tend to react in an extreme and negative fashion to the (almost inevitable) breaking of these rules.

A substantial body of evidence supports CBT-BN, and the findings indicate that CBTBN is the leading treatment. However, at best, half the patients who start treatment make a full and lasting response. Between 30% and 50% of patients cease binge eating and purging, and a further proportion show some improvement while others drop out of treatment or fail to respond. These findings led us to ask the question, “Why aren’t more people getting better?”

In the light of our experience with patients, we proposed that in certain patients one or more of four additional maintaining processes interact with the core eating disorder maintaining mechanisms and that when this occurs they constitute further obstacles to change. The first of these maintaining mechanisms concerns the influence of extreme perfectionism (“clinical perfectionism”). The second concerns difficulty coping with intense mood states (“mood intolerance”). Two other mechanisms concern the impact of unconditional and pervasive low self-esteem (“core low self-esteem”), and marked interpersonal problems (“interpersonal difficulties”).  This new theory represents an extension of the original theory illustrated in Fig. 1. Fig. 2 shows in schematic form both the core maintaining mechanisms and the four hypothesized additional mechanisms.

This program of work illustrates the value of focusing attention on those patients who benefit least from treatment. Doing so resulted in the enhanced form of CBT, which appears to be markedly more effective and more useful (in terms of the full range of patients treated) than its forerunner, CBT-BN.

 

A novel measure of compulsive food restriction in anorexia nervosa: Validation of the Self-Starvation Scale (SS)

Lauren R. Godier, Rebecca J. Park
Eating Behaviors 17 (2015) 10–13
http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eatbeh.2014.12.004

The characteristic relentless self-starvation behavior seen in Anorexia Nervosa (AN) has been described as evidence of compulsivity,with increasing suggestion of transdiagnostic parallels with addictive behavior. There is a paucity of standardized self-report measures of compulsive behavior in eating disorders (EDs). Measures that index the concept of compulsive self-starvation in AN are needed to explore the suggested parallels with addictions. With this aima novel measure of self-starvation was developed (the Self-Starvation Scale, SS). 126 healthy participants, and 78 individuals with experience of AN, completed the new measure along with existing measures of eating disorder symptoms, anxiety and depression. Initial validation in the healthy sample indicated good reliability and construct validity, and incremental validity in predicting eating disorder symptoms. The psychometric properties of the SS scale were replicated in the AN sample. The ability of this scale to predict ED symptoms was particularly strong in individuals currently suffering from AN. These results suggest the SS may be a useful index of compulsive food restriction in AN. The concept of ‘starvation dependence’ in those with eating disorders, as a parallel with addiction, may be of clinical and theoretical importance.

The compulsive nature of Anorexia Nervosa (AN) has increasingly been compared to the maladaptive cycle of compulsive drug-seeking behavior (Barbarich-Marsteller, Foltin, & Walsh, 2011). Individuals with AN engage in persistent weight loss behavior, such as extreme self-starvation and excessive exercise, to modulate anxiety associated with ingestion of food, in a similar way to the use of mood altering drugs in substance dependence. Substance dependence is described as a persistent state in which there is a lack of control over compulsive drug-seeking, and lack of regard for the risk of serious negative consequences, which may parallel the relentlessness with which individuals with AN pursue weight loss despite profoundly negative physiological and psychological consequences.

Considering the parallels suggested between AN and substance dependence, it may be useful to use the concept of ‘dependence’ on starvation when measuring compulsive behaviors in eating disorders (EDs) such as AN. For that reason, a novel measure of self-starvation, the Self-Starvation Scale (SS) was derived, in part by adapting the Yale Food Addiction Scale (YFAS) (Gearhardt, Corbin, & Brownell, 2009) for this construct.

The set of online questionnaires was created using Bristol Online Surveys (BOS; Institute of Learning and Research Technology, University of Bristol, UK). In addition to the new measure described below, ED symptoms were measured using the Eating Disorder Examination-Questionnaire (EDE-Q) (Fairburn & Beglin, 2008), and the Clinical Impairment Assessment (CIA) (Bohn & Fairburn, 2008). Depression symptoms were measured using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) (Kroenke, Spitzer, & Williams, 2001). Anxiety symptoms were measured using the Generalized Anxiety Disorder Assessment-7 (GAD-7) (Spitzer, Kroenke, Williams, & Lowe, 2006). The mirror image concept of ‘food addiction’ was measured using the YFAS (Gearhardt et al., 2009). Excessive exercise was measured using the Compulsive Exercise Test (CET) (Taranis, Touyz, & Meyer, 2011). Impulsivity was measured using the Barratt Impulsivity Scale-11 (BIS-11) (Patton, Stanford, & Barratt, 1995). Substance abuse symptoms were measured using the Leeds Dependence Questionnaire (LDQ) (Raistrick et al., 1994).

The results of this study suggest that using the criteria of dependence in capturing compulsive self-starvation behavior in AN may have some validity. The utility of this criteria in capturing compulsive behavior across disorders, including AN, suggests that compulsivity as a construct of behavior may have transdiagnostic application (Godier & Park, 2014; Robbins, Gillan, Smith, de Wit, & Ersche, 2012), on which disorder-specific themes are superimposed.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »