Posted by jujube on November 12, 2004, at 21:34:07
In reply to PS, posted by Racer on November 12, 2004, at 20:58:26
I think that eating disorders have a somewhat addictive quality to them. For example, I read that the bingeing and purging associated with bulimia can trigger waves of endorphins, which helps establish the powerful compulsions that bulimics are helpless to fight. And, many anorexics get high on starvation. Apparently anorexia triggers the same kind of powerful high that opiates like heroin give to drug users. Further, it would appear that anorectic starvation, like bulimic bingeing and purging is a traumatic experience that can stimulate a deep survival mechanism; the release of endorphins which allow us to experience pleasure, kill pain and ease stress. So, if the body becomes addicted to these natural opiates and a person resumes normal healthy eating, the body will miss the endorphin highs. Perhaps that's why it is hard for an anorectic or bulimic to break the cycle. Eating or keeping food down, while nourishing to the body and the mind, ultimately causes a crash and great anxiety for an anorectic or bulimic.
Although I was never a full-blown anorectic, I did go through periods of laxitive use to lose weight (gross I know), near (but not complete) starvation for months on end and periods when I did eat minimally, but immediately after eating would work out for 45 minutes to an hour, and I would weight myself up to 10 times a day, so afraid that I would gain a pound. I don't recall ever feeling depressed or anxious during these periods, and remained energetic. I do remember thinking that I could still stand to lose a few pounds, even after my friends nicknamed me SkeleTam.