Re: more on bigorexia

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Mon 09 May 2005 - 16:57:46 GMT

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    --- Kate Distin <> wrote:

    > Derek Gatherer wrote:
    > > At 12:24 09/05/2005, you wrote:
    > >
    > >> Not sure autism is comparable to anorexia.
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > > I think one basic difference is that a 'normal'
    > person can suddenly
    > > become anorexic, whereas I don't know any examples
    > of somebody becoming
    > > autistic. Generally, people are born autistic or
    > escape it. I think
    > > the same is true for the milder Asperger's
    > syndrome.
    > Absolutely. I really wasn't trying to draw any
    > parallels between the
    > two conditions. Rather, I was speculating about
    > whether there might be
    > the sort of genetic predisposition that you mention
    > below, and possibly
    > explained by an "extreme female brain" (biased
    > towards empathy, emotion,
    > etc. and possibly when turned inwards leading to
    > self-harm?) in the way
    > that Baron Cohen accounts for autism by an "extreme
    > male brain".
    > As I said, it was very speculative and only thrown
    > out in the hope that
    > list members more knowledgeable in this area might
    > have ideas (or indeed
    > contradictory information) sparked by my thoughts.
    I'm not familiar enough at present with autism or anorexia to know the full range of issues these coditions entail. I'm about a decade removed from psych courses in motivation and neuropsychology that dealt with these and other conditions. I do find the new focus on a male "reverse anorexia" interesting and wonder if people will look for genetic predisposing factors (or markers?) like Derek mentions below for anorexia. I vaguely recall doing a little research on ADHD ages ago and looking into the genetics. I was pondering adaptive versus neutralist positions for existence of the genetic predisposition, if any. I was a lot less cautious in my thinking back then. After looking into Thom Hartmann's speculations about attention deficit, I'm more skeptical about any old adaptionist claim for psychiatric disorders.

    Steven Rose talks a lot about ADHD in his new book and has me wondering about not only whether its valid to trot out genetic factors for these conditions, which might be labels attached to varied psychological situations that are then reified into something more and also the number of prescriptions filled for psychiatric disorders in general. I've seen a little on this wrt "bigorexia" for antidepressants, but I guess if they work they might be better than letting the kid continue a steroids regime. I'm no foaming at the mouth anti-pharm type, but I do think its healthy to take a step back and critically assess psychiatric designations and pharm marketing. We've come a long way since the days of ECT and lobotomies, but pharms have their drawbacks. They are important tool in many cases and have worked wonders, but after watching the movie "Awakenings" with Robin Williams and Bobby D, I realize that they (eg- L-dopa) may not be the magic bullets they're made out to be.
    > Kate
    > If I remember
    > > rightly, Aaron Lynch used to try to make a case
    > that drastic dieting was
    > > a 'thought contagion' (not got chapter and verse
    > on where that claim is
    > > made, but I'll get it if required - it might just
    > have been in a list
    > > posting). I'm not sure if that also implies that
    > anorexia is therefore
    > > also posited as being a TC too - it might be
    > possible to diet
    > > drastically under social pressure without
    > suffering the defect in
    > > self-perception that is more or less taken to be
    > necessary for anorexia.
    > >
    > > Current genetic studies indicate a weak
    > disposition:
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > > so it might be that the predisposed can tumble
    > over into anorexia if the
    > > social conditions are correct.
    > >
    > >

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