Eastern philosophy promises hope for Western women with eating disorders


2007-01-15 13:23

Buddhism and Eating Disorder Treatment

A psychological technique based on Buddhist philosophy and practice may provide a solution for women who struggle with binge eating and bulimia.

The technique known as 'mindfulness' is being taught to Queensland women to help them understand and deal with the emotions that trigger their binges.

Unlike many therapies for eating disorders, there is less focus on food and controlling eating and more on providing freedom from negative thoughts and emotions.

Griffith University psychologists Michelle Hanisch and Angela Morgan said women who binged were often high-achievers and perfectionists.

When such women perceived they didn't measure up to self-imposed standards or were not in control of situations, they indulged in secretive eating binges. A typical late-night binge could involve four litres of icecream and a couple of packets of chocolate biscuits, Ms Hanisch said.

"Many women develop elaborate methods of hiding the evidence of their binges and some feel so guilty afterwards they also induce vomiting, overuse laxatives or exercise excessively to counteract the effects of the binge," she said.

"Binge eating is largely a distraction

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