Eating disorders in the context of attachment theory
Alantar, Z. (2008) Eating disorders in the context of attachment theory. Anatolian Journal of Psychiatry (Anadolu Psikiyatri Dergisi), 9 (2). pp. 97-104.
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Objective: In this review article eating disorders were examined in the context of attachment theory. Methods: Attachment theory focuses on the mother-infant relationship and its effects on child’s behavioral development. Results: Unstability in child’s earliest relationship with caregivers may lead to eating disorders. From this perspective, since food consumption usually replaces parental affection, the patient believes that she/he can control and arrange it both qualitatively and quantitatively. Eating disordered individuals are considered to fail frequently in establishing emotional communication with the persons they ‘attached’ and also to have built insecure attachments during childhood. Although insecure attachment is frequent among eating disordered patients when compared to non-eating disordered individuals, relationship between risk factors which may lead to eating disorders and nature of attachment in pre-adolescence period have not been thoroughly studied. Struggling extensively with fears of death plays a major role in the onset and development of eating disorders, especially anorexia nervosa. Fear from weight gaining and hidden symptoms of anorexia and bulimia nervosa may serve to protect the patient from the fear of death. Conclusion: Both eating disordered and insecurely attached individuals have low self esteem, feeling of insufficiency and incapability.
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