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Adolescent bulimia and psychotherapeutic efficacy - Essay Example

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Bulimia is an eating disorder that impacts millions of adolescent children.It has been suggested that psychotherapy is effective at attenuating the incidence of this condition.The purpose of this proposed research is to attempt to quantify the efficacy of therapy…
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Adolescent bulimia and psychotherapeutic efficacy
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Download file to see previous pages Bulimia is an eating disorder that impacts millions of adolescent children.It has been suggested that psychotherapy is effective at attenuating the incidence of this condition.The purpose of this proposed research is to attempt to quantify the efficacy of therapy Using a standardized test for bulimic presence and severity, the Bulimic Investigatory Test, Edinburgh (BITE), this research project will obtain an age-appropriate sample from the New York City educational system and qualify a sample group. That group will then be randomized and divided into an experimental cohort and a control group. The experimental cohort will receive six weekly one-hour sessions of psychotherapy targeted at bulimia. At the end of the six weeks, the two groups will be re-tested and the results compared and analyzed using standard statistical methods. It is anticipated that the experimental group will demonstrate a statistically significant improvement in testing scores for bulimic behavior.Of various eating disorders within the adolescent population, bulimia is one of the most common. Occurring in a predominantly female population comprising up to 10% of the middle-to-upper class, approximately one out of 200 teenage women can be expected to suffer from this condition.Quoting Haller, Beach avers that bulimia nervosa is properly diagnosed when an individual presents symptoms that include binge eating, self-induced purging such as vomiting, the use of laxatives, or diuretics, is overly concerned with body weight, and engages in a binge/purge cycle of behavior at least 2 times a week for a period of three months or longer (p. 3).
It is well known that many adolescent girls are influenced by media presentations of image, and the female form is normally demonstrated as fashionably thin. In fact, what is actually a healthy body type is often misperceived as overweight by adolescents, who will make every effort to fit in with perceived trends to the point of engaging in unhealthy behavior. It has been suggested that this behavior is actually an expression of "maturational crisis" and that eating disorders such as bulimia "may indeed be a response to puberty, which challenges the individual's sense of control..." (Schwartzberg, 1998, p. 173).
There are often co-occurring symptoms which can elevate the risk for "onset or recurrence" of bulimia nervosa; like chronic depressive symptoms which if present in early adolescence, "may play a uniquely important role" in the development of the condition (Cockell, Johnson, & Zaider, 2002, p. 324). Co-occurrence need not be present, however, as bulimic eating patterns can be guilt driven and "self-maintaining" due to the fact that "restrictive eating is maintained...binging arises from the [resulting] feelings of hunger...negative cognitions about bingeing lead to purging...[and] guilt about the binge-purge episode" (Carr, 1999, p. 694). Thus, for the purposes of this research, only the presence of bulimia need be ascertained.
Regardless of whether the condition is accompanied by other pathologies, it has been shown that psychotherapy is effective in treating bulimia; in fact, Connors and Johnson stated that "perhaps the greatest advancements have occurred in the area of psychotherapy for bulimia nervosa," and that there has been a "healthy trend toward the integration of different therapeutic modalities" (1987, p. xii). Referring to Henderson & Freeman, Irving, Mccluskey-Fawcett, & Miller affirm that one important and effective tool for diagnosing bulimia is the Bulimic Investigatory Test, Edinburgh (BITE), which is a simple questionnaire that quantifies individuals using a scoring system; the score ranges from 0 (non-bulimic) to 30 (severely bulimic) (1993, p. 622). Accordingly, the BITE provides a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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