Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Can Emotions Predict Eating Disorders?

A new paper analyses emotional characteristics including the way in which negative emotions are dealt with and emotional expression, the main objective being to construct an 'emotional profile' of women at risk from succumbing to eating disorders, as well as those already suffering.

The paper states there is a greater risk of developing an eating disorder when emotions are influenced by low self esteem, anxiety, acting on impulse and when emotions are not expressed.


I personally believe that there is a need to address where these emotions are coming from in the first place - what is driving them? Is there a deeper issue that needs to be addressed?

In addition, could it help us to explore the emotionality of the individual i.e. the observable and physiological components of their emotions. For example, someone who is anxious would experience an elevated heart rate and perspiration, as well as the more obvious signs of talking quickly or stammering. Could this provide more clues as to whether or not an individual is capable of expressing emotion, and if so, could this lead to establishing mechanisms to encourage self expression?

Creative outlets such as writing, drawing or movement through yoga or dance, are a wonderful way to express feelings and emotions, and help expel negativity, in a non confrontational manner.

Perhaps if self expression as a method of dealing with negative emotion, was encouraged from a young age, adolescents would have more confidence asserting themselves if they feel angry or hurt or sad, and the incidence of self destructive behaviours such as anorexia and bulimia, would diminish.

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