Bulimia and Depression
The prevalence of eating disorders among American women has increased dramatically in the past decade. In turn, the psychological community has expanded it's scope of research and study by focusing more attention on eating disorders and concentrating on other extended issues related to eating disorders. The desire to distinguish and understand a possible relationship between bulimia nervosa and depression has become a major focus within the field. The purpose of this paper is to introduce the reader to literature from two different journal articles on this relationship.
How Are Bulimia and Depression Possibly Related?:
Presently, there are two predominant hypotheses on the relationship between bulimia nervosa and depression. The first hypothesis states that bulimia nervosa is an affective variant of depression. (Hinz and Williamson, 1987) This idea came about due to early reports of a high prevalence of clinical depression in bulimics and a high lifetime prevalence of depression in the families of these patients. Recent studies, however, provide evidence that this type of relationship between bulimia and depression is still unconfirmed. (Levy et al., 1989) The second hypothesis constitutes that bulimia is a "distinctive diagnostic entity with a psychopathological process different from that of other mental disorders". (Hinz, et al., 1987) The following articles review the findings of research which effect the level of support for these two hypotheses.
Cognitive Comparisons in Defining Bulimia and Depression:
Bulimia is characterized by a number of symptoms. Many of these symptoms are also common among depression. Schlesier-Carter, et al., 1989 state that for bulimia,
"the distinctive behaviors appear clinically to occur in the context of (a) unrealistic beliefs and evaluations about eating and body weight, and (b) dysphoric affective states... Cognitions manifested by bulimics include dysfunctional attributions regarding weight gain, guilt, and self-deprecating attributions centered on feeling out of control."
Schlesier, et al. (1987) state that depression:
"...carries characteristic cognitive features of clinical import. Maladaptive thinking patterns related to depressive symptomatology include negative automatic thoughts, dysfunctional attitudes, and causal attributions."
Therefore, there are connections between these two disorders. There is a link in the relationship between bulimia and depression. Understanding this link is essential for treatment and therapy.
Article I - "Bulimia and Depression: A Review of the Affective Hypothesis":
Lisa Hinz and Donald Williamson (1987) reflect on the evidence presented in past studies relating bulimia and depression and discriminate between the idea that bulimia is an affective variant of depression or a separate diagnostic entity often associated with depression. In their attempt to understand the relationship, the authors...