BULIMAREXIA: The Binge/Purge Cycle by Marlene & William C. White Boskind-White

BULIMAREXIA: The Binge/Purge Cycle

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Boskind-White and White were among the first therapists to treat bulimarexia (at Cornell), and they have some helpful findings to put forth (by contrast with Janice Cauwels' wobbly Bulimia, p. 39). Bulimarexia, they firmly believe, is not a disease but a behavior that is learned and can be unlearned. Women are mainly affected, and the disorder is often hidden (unlike anorexia, it may not cause changes in appearance). The authors define the problem as cyclical eating behavior, in which the woman experiences an inordinate desire for food and consumes vast quantities, then purges herself by vomiting, fasting, and/or using laxatives and diuretics. Sufferers, they've round, exhibit a distorted body image--seeing themselves as too fat, whereas others don't--and complain of helplessness, despair, distrust of women, fear of rejection by men, and shame regarding their binge/purge behavior. The behavior is rooted, the authors think, in a combination of factors: society's premium on thinness, family disorders, difficulties in accepting adolescence. They end on a hopeful note by explaining their treatment program and recounting their successes. Some may dispute the designation of bulimarexia as a learned behavior, and the authors themselves note how much more there is to learn. But their clear, knowledgeable discussion takes the reader a considerable way.

Pub Date: April 18th, 1983
Publisher: Norton