Anorexia Nervosa and Bipolar Disorder

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is a psychological eating disorder characterized by constant food intake limits, intense fear of weight gain, and a great deal of concern about self-perceived body shape. A individual suffering from the condition is unable to maintain a normal healthy weight and, even when they are severely underweight, may end up seeing themselves as overweight. Anorexia nervosa is classified into binge eating and form limiting.

Individuals with a restrictive form impose drastic restrictions on the amount and type of food they take. In different ways, it is obvious, such as limiting certain forms of diet, avoiding mealtimes, fanatical rules such as one colored food. They also tend to practice prohibitive practices around food such as excess exercises. Individuals with this binge type also put a serious constraint on the sum and kind of food they take. The person shows purging conduct and takes part in voraciously consuming food. Binge consumption of food includes eating a lot of food and feeling out of control. In addition, purging conduct includes self-incited puking, or intentionally abusing laxatives and diuretics to make up for food consumption (Mancini et al., 2010).

There are key symptoms that a person suffering from anorexia nervosa displays:

  • Unending abstaining from food regardless of being dangerously underweight

  • Obsession on calories and foods which are rich in fats

  • Developing eating patterns, for example, chewing food into little pieces, hiding food or staying alone when eating

  • Continuous obsession with food or cooking whereby the person may cook complicated food for others yet forgo eating

  • Amenorrhea: a condition whereby monthly periods do not occur or skip three consecutive times

  • An individual stays depressed

  • Development of fine hair on the face and body

  • Feeling extremely cold

  • Diminishing or loss of hair

  • Evasion of social gatherings, family, and companions

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is an emotional sickness that causes extreme high and low states of mind and changes in moods, sleep, thinking, and behavior. A person suffering from the disorder faces some periods of excessive joy and energy and different periods of extreme pity, misery, and laziness. The changes in moods are extreme and alter the functioning of the body.

The disorder has four different types of mood swings. One of the mood episodes is mania which is characterized by increased energy and creativity. At this episode, the patient feels influential and great. They become very active and sleep less. The second episode is hypomania which seems to be less severe as compared to mania because the person is hyperactive and energetic but does not lose grasp of reality. Bipolar depression is an episode in which a person is easily irritated, feels guilty and restless and hence begins to walk and talk sluggishly and sleeps a lot. Finally, there is a mixed episode which combines the characteristics of the other three types and hence results in a mixture of low moods and extreme energy (Beidel et al., 2010).

The common symptoms of bipolar disorder are:

  • Feeling miserable and pitiful

  • Failure to experience delight

  • Weariness or loss of energy

  • Physical and mental drowsiness

  • Irritability

  • Changes in weight and appetite

  • Problems with sleep

  • Focus and memory issues

  • Sentiments of uselessness or blame

  • Contemplations of death or suicide

  • Rapid speech

  • Inability to complete assigned duties

Etiological Concepts of Bipolar and Anorexia Disorders

Bipolar Disorder

The Diathesis-Stress Model explains that the discussed disorders are caused by different environmental, psychological, and genetic factors (Beidel et al., 2010).

Hereditary factors have proven to cause bipolar disorder because the condition keeps recurring in families and there is an impression that some sort of genetic variables play a great role. A large portion of the general population with the bipolar issue has a relative with the disorder. In the event that one parent suffers from the illness, there is a ten to fifteen percent more prominent possibility of their kid building up the disorder. The hazard in a kid jumps to a thirty to forty percent possibility if both guardians suffer from bipolar turmoil.

The environment is also the main factor that causes bipolar disorder. Alteration of one's health habits leads to hormonal issues which could further lead to the disorder. Different life experiences trigger a person's mind in diverse ways and some results in the development of mood episodes. Among those at hazard for the sickness, bipolar turmoil is showing up at progressively early age as a result of under diagnosis of the condition before. This adjustment in the time of onset might be a consequence of social and ecological components that people interact with at their tender age.

Psychological issues also result in bipolar disorder. The experience of traumatic events during childhood hinders one from effectively controlling their own emotions. Facing very stressful events in life could also result in episodes of very low mood. If a person has a negative opinion about themselves, they develop a problem of low self-esteem resulting in the development of mania in an attempt to boost the person's self-confidence to deal with the problem.

Anorexia Nervosa

Biological factors such as a decrease in some chemicals in the brain cause anorexia nervosa. Chemical such as dopamine and serotonin are responsible for the regulation of appetite, mood, and anxiety. If the normal levels of the chemicals are not maintained in the brain, an individual is likely to develop an eating issue. In addition, the disorder recurs in families that have experienced it before, proving that the issue is genetic. The EPHX2 gene is almost similar for those who have the issue in a family.

There are psychological and emotional elements leading to anorexia. For instance, individuals experiencing eating disorders lack self-esteem and confidence when contrasted with other people. In addition, people with the problem show fixated habits concerning food and may frequently exhibit obsessive and fanatical individual characteristics. Another conceivable mental reason for anorexia might be a solid, extraordinary need to be perfect. Such drive convinces a patient that they are never sufficiently thin despite losing extreme body weight.

The environment in which an individual grows shapes the person's eating pattern. The existence of jobs and hobbies such as music and dance that prefer thin people affects eating patterns and might end up making some people starve themselves so as to fit in the profession. The influence of the western culture associates beauty with thinness through the media has led to an increase in anorexia. Peer pressure, physical abuse, and stressful events also contribute to the development of the eating disorder.

Administering Treatment to Bipolar and Anorexia Patients

Treatment of Bipolar Disorder

In treating bipolar disorder, methods such as psychotherapy and medication are implemented. During medication, drugs are administered to the patient. Anti-depressant drugs are given if the individual is experiencing a depression episode while mood stabilizers are issued to control mania and hypomania. If the disorder is severe, antipsychotic drugs are prescribed. Psychotherapy sessions held in groups or personal basis prove to be helpful in treating mood swings. During psychotherapy, patients learn more about the disorder. It enables them to identify issues that affect their moods and how to deal with them, resulting in chances of achieving stable moods hence treating the disorder (Kiesbye, 2010).

Treatment of Anorexia Nervosa

Different methods are applied in treating anorexia nervosa. They include psychotherapy, medication, nutritional management, family, and individual approaches (Mancini, 2010). Nutritional management involves special care provided to the patient by a nutritionist or dietician. The method aims at ensuring that the patient consumes the correct amounts of minerals, vitamins, and develops the standard eating behavior. Another effective method is psychotherapy which involves consistent interaction with a counselor or psychotherapist with an aim of improving the patient's eating disorder. It focuses on the person's conduct, thoughts, and feelings. There are different models of psychotherapy, for instance, Dialectical Behavior Therapy.


Beidel, D.C., Bulik, C.M., & Stanley, M.A. (2010). Abnormal psychology: Study guide. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education.

Kiesbye, S. (2010). Bipolar disorder. Farmington Hills: Greenhaven Press/Gale Cengage Learning.

Mancini, A., Daini, S., & Caruana, L. (2010). Anorexia nervosa: A multi-disciplinary approach: from biology to philosophy. New York: Nova Science Publishers.

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