Gaining: The Truth about Life after Eating Disorders

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In the last 50 years, eating disorders have become more and more prevalent in the United States. Society is starting to realize that they do not just affect teenage women, but men and children as well (Caralat, Camargo & Herzog, 1997; Lask, 2000). Solitaire is a novel originally published by Aimee Liu was she 25 years old. It was considered America's first memoir of anorexia, with Liu describing her battle with anorexia as a teenager in the sixties. Gaining is the sequel to this groundbreaking novel, following Liu as she talks with her fellow (former) eating disorder sufferers. In Gaining, Liu talks with one specific person who is my main focus; Hannah Winters. This essay can be considered a case study of Hannah, looking specifically at her life, symptoms, diagnoses, and comparing them to the research that has been done on similar topics. From her story, Hannah could be considered a poster child of eating disorders; following very closely to the diagnosis of anorexia given in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (APA, 2000) and dealing with many of the typical issues that those who have eating disorders deal with.

It would seem that Hannah didn’t have a chance at a normal life from the moment she was born. At the age of nine months old, she was kidnapped in Belgium by her housekeeper’s prostitute daughter. Aside from being a terrifying ordeal, research has shown that that negative experiences, such as rape and other forms of abuse (or in this case kidnapping), influence eating pathology (Mesman-Moore & Garrigus, 2007). Furthermore, Johnson et al. (2002) found that individuals with eating disorders were more likely than those without to report a history of child maltreatment, other childhood adversities, and poor parental relat...

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...exia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Archives of General Psychiatry, 55(7), 603-610.

Liu, A. (2008). Gaining: The Truth about Life after Eating Disorders. New York: Wellness Central.

Messman-Moore, T. L., & Garrigus, S. (2007). The association of child abuse and eating disorder symptomatology: The importance of multiple forms of abuse and revictimization. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 14(3), 51-72.

Notman, M. T., & Nadelson, C. C. (1976). The Rape victim: psychodynamic considerations. American Journal of Psychiatry, 133, 408-413 .

Pope, H.G., & Hudson, J.I. (2006). Are Eating disorders associated with borderline personality disorder? a critical review. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 8(1), 1 - 9.

Zlotnick, C. (1998). The Relationship between sexual abuse and eating pathology. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 20(2), 129 - 134.
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