Medical Explanations for Psychosomatic Symptoms in Anorexia - Deepstash

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Medical Explanations for Psychosomatic Symptoms in Anorexia

  • Alexithymia is a personality trait that makes it difficult to identify our feelings, describe what other people are feeling, and to think imaginatively.
  • Illness denial is more difficult to find a medical explanation for, but emerging neurological explanations suggest that people with anorexia are not denying their illness out of stubbornness.


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Modern Misconception

  • Since the mid-1800s, we've gained a deeper understanding of why anorexia develops, but its early associations with hysteria have been difficult to escape
  • Anorexia and hysteria are not the same illness
  • In a 1982 Life Magazine article, it was claimed that "hysteria has almost d...


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Anorexia and Hysteria: A Shared History

Anorexia and Hysteria: A Shared History

  • Before modern medicine, unexplained women's behaviors and illnesses were diagnosed as hysteria.
  • Symptoms of hysteria included fever and physical pain, as well as behaviors that didn't fit female stereotypes of passivity, feebleness, and fragility.
  • Mood swings, anxiety, and de...


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Psychosomatic Disorder

  • A psychosomatic disorder is a condition where observed physical symptoms don’t have medical explanations.
  • These symptoms are instead attributed to psychological things (e.g., stress, emotions, and personality).
  • Many times, we just haven't found medical explanations for them y...


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Separating Anorexia from Hysteria

  • Psychiatry asylums played a role in anorexia being recognized as its own medical condition separate from hysteria
  • At first, psychiatric institutions were places where people with mental illnesses were looked after, but not treated
  • This changed with a mental health reformation...


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Emotional Audit

  • Check in with your body and identify adjectives that describe the sensations you’re feeling.
  • Choose words that are specific to your experience, not words that insinuate what another is doing. Examples “When this happens, it makes me feel like…”
  • Descri...

Antisocial personalities

If you’re wondering if there are people without feelings, it’s common to think about psychopaths. We refer to them as individuals with anti social personality disorder, a condition that affects 1% of the population.

  • They’re unable to create strong emotional bonds.

Behavior change: techniques to try

  • If you are putting off a difficult conversation, identify what makes you feel really good, and do that when you get a moment. Doing so will remind you that you worth caring about. When you feel good, you feel more capable of doing the hard thing.
  • Instead of "dump t...

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