Bulimia is a metabolic disorder?

I know, I know, I'm a reflexively mechanistic thinker who is always looking for the Eureka explanation and a magic pill. But you have to admit this is interesting: "Bulimia may result from hormonal imbalance."

"'We have shown that one third of female bulimics have metabolic disorders that may explain the occurrence of the eating disorder. These disorders may in certain cases express the hormonal constitution of the patient, rather than any mental illness', says Dr Sabine Naessen about the research results that are presented in her doctoral thesis."

Now, mind you, we'd already know this was true if people with eating disorders were routinely given thorough medical testing. But just as it took us until the 1980s to figure out that ulcers were caused by a bacteria and not "stress," so are we in 2006 still blaming the victims.


  1. Very interesting although I suspect in many cases somewhat more complicated than solveable with just any contraceptive pill - some hormonal inbalances will probably respond to some treatments, others to others. However, to me, like the Leptin, this makes a lot of sense.

  2. BTW regards the magic pill - my daughter and I joke that her wonderful psychiatrist has actually found it, but has signed a pact with the devil and the therapists of the world not to reveal her secret or they will all be out of work.

  3. I've been surprised at the reaction to this elsewhere - from outright hostility to attempts to use it to criticise bad therapy. Both, in my mind anyway are misguided - it is a small but interesting and hopeful study for SOME sufferers.

    I truly believe that once the biological nature of the SPECTRUM of Eating Disorders is more widely understood a wider and more effective array of evidence based treatments will be able to be made available, as in Autism. These will still have to include include physical (food, exercise, meaningful physcial work), pharmaceutical and therapeutic (evidence based talking therapies, working out stratergies to cope with the effects of the biological illness) and that, as long as they don't cling on to outdated views and embrace the challenge that the biological evidence provides for them, those therapists will be in work for many years to come.


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