Chapter

3 Eating Disorders: Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorder

Clinical Psychology

I. PSYCHOPATHOLOGY

  1. Howard Steiger PhD1,2,
  2. Kenneth R. Bruce PhD3,4,
  3. Mimi Israël MD5,6

Published Online: 26 SEP 2012

DOI: 10.1002/9781118133880.hop208003

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition

How to Cite

Steiger, H., Bruce, K. R. and Israël, M. 2012. Eating Disorders: Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorder. Handbook of Psychology, Second Edition. 8:I:3.

Author Information

  1. 1

    Douglas Hospital, Eating Disorders Program, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

  2. 2

    McGill University, Department of Psychiatry, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

  3. 3

    Douglas Hospital, Eating Disorders Program, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

  4. 4

    McGill University, Department of Psychiatry, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

  5. 5

    Douglas Hospital, Eating Disorders Program, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

  6. 6

    McGill University, Department of Psychiatry, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 26 SEP 2012

Abstract

This chapter addresses anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and the various eating syndromes that are classified as eating disorders not otherwise specified, providing an up-to-date discussion on phenomenology (including eating-specific and comorbid features), epidemiology, and etiology. In the eating disorders, interactive effects involving environmental risks (e.g., cultural inducements toward excessive dieting or overachievement) and constitutional susceptibilities in vulnerable individuals (e.g., heritable propensities toward appetitive dysregulation, affective instability, or excessive anxiety) are highly evident, perhaps more so than in many other mental-health problems. As a result, the eating disorders encourage us to think in terms of multiple determinants and maintaining factors. A main organizing concept throughout this chapter is a multidimensional etiological concept that integrates findings from biological, psychological, family-developmental, and cross-cultural studies and, more importantly, from studies on constitution x environment interactions. The chapter also provides a heuristic for differentiating factors that constitute disorder-specific risks from those that contribute (and that may explain comorbid traits, like marked impulsivity or affective instability) without having specific causal roles.

Keywords:

  • anorexia nervosa;
  • bulimia nervosa;
  • eating disorders;
  • phenomenology;
  • etiology