Mental Health Session 10: Eating Disorders

Session: 10 Eating disorders


Hypothalamus signals hunger and satiation

  • Regulation of the person’s appetite


Anorexia nervosa – usually in females ages in 12-30 y.o. And the prevalence is about 1%

  • Restrict eating
  • Medical complications
    • Cardiac arrhythmias, seizures, poor enamel, amenorrhea, constipation,

Bulimia nervosa – more chronic than anorexia. Prevalence ½% in males and three times that in females.

  • Cannot control eating or how much you eat.
  • Purging, laxatives, enemas, or diuretics
  • Purging weekly for at least three months
  • Generally normal weight to slightly over weight
  • Medical complications: bradycardia, electrolyte imbalances, russell’s sign which is calloused knuckles on the hands, stomach pain, dehydration, and poor dentition.


Binge eating disorder – similar to bulimia but do not purge

  • Extreme overeating from feelings of worthless self.


Biological influences

  • Genetic component is not proven but is hypothesised
  • Serotonin release occurs with eating almost any food. People with anorexia will feel anxious instead when feeling full.


Psychological influences

  • May start development at a very early age and delay the development of the ego.
  • Cognitive-behavioral theory – learned behaviour based on the positive reinforcement for loss of weight.


Family influence


Obesity – over 30 BMI

  • Increases mortality
  • Overweight americans are about 65% of the population
  • Not classified as an eating disorder



  • Contraindicated meds
    • Bupropion (wellbutrin) – lowers seizure threshold which increases risk when the patient is already at a high risk.
    • Caution psychostimulants
  • Meds to use: there are no medications specific for an eating disorder
    • Use medications that target anxiety and depression ie. SSRI’s,

  • Medication for people with binge eating disorder: reduction of appetite
    • Topiramate (topamax)
    • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
    • Phentermine or topiramate (Osymia) – may have paresthesias, tingling in the periphery.

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