chapter  Four
63 Pages

Anorexia: formation, persistence, change

ByGiorgio Nardone, Tiziana Verbitz, Roberta Milanese

Anorexia is undoubtedly the best known of all eating disorders. It appears to mainly afflict young women—often adolescents—but also a number of men. Although anorexia is still the eating disorder most frequently studied in scientific literature on this subject, the number of “pure” anorexics seems to be decreasing. The young women who are “candidates” for sacrificial anorexia typically start experiencing difficulties and developing symptoms in conjunction with particular family situations. Abstinent anorexics are usually very intelligent but also extremely sensitive, psychologically fragile persons who have great difficulty in controlling their emotions. Apart from individual solutions attempted by the abstinent anorexic, the solutions attempted by the system that surrounds her are also very important. Sometimes, persons suffering from anorexia, like those suffering from vomiting disorders, refuse to go into therapy. In such cases, it is often sufficient to see their parents and persuade them to stop all their attempted solutions.