Dieting Vs. Eating Disorders Cognitive Impairments

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Dieting vs. Eating Disorders Cognitive Impairments

Dieting vs. Eating Disorders Cognitive Impairments


Neuropsychology examines the relationship between behavior and mental functioning by means of psychometric tests or qualitative exams of the cognitive, sensory-motor, perceptual and emotional areas. It comprises the study of the behavioral expression of central nervous system (CNS) lesions, helping to screen for different manifestations of brain dysfunctions. Among several clinical utilizations, it serves as an auxiliary tool for diagnosis and documentation of psychiatric disorders and it is used to evaluate clinical effects of therapeutic interventions. The etiology of Dieting and eating disorders (ED) is unknown. The possibility that there is a dysfunction of the central nervous system (CNS) in patients with these disorders has been explored in several ways, including studies of neuropsychological test performance. An increasing number of studies assessing the relationship between several mechanisms of cognitive processing and certain eating behaviors have been conducted, aiming to achieve a better understanding of the pathophysiology of ED.


When a diet doesn't seem to work, or work fast enough, many people get desperate and frustrated. They turn to even stricter diets, start using diuretics (substances that cause the body to rid itself of water) or diet pills, or experiment with self-induced vomiting. Other behaviors might include food fadism (choosing to eat only selected food groups or following fad diets), fasting, forcing oneself to vomit, using saunas to sweat off weight, spitting out food that has been chewed, and using laxatives and even enemas. Most of us know people who have tried to lose weight in one of these ways. What most people do not know is that these techniques do not work. They cause loss of water weight, not fat weight, and they have significant medical and psychological side effects. Such practices can be classified as disordered eating practices, harmful eating behaviors that do not result in true weight loss (Toner BB, Garfinkel PE, Garner DM, 1987).

Dieting and Eating Disorders

Usually, the first signs of the female athlete triad are seen in women using these practices. Disordered eating-as opposed to clinically defined Dieting and eating disorders-covers a wide spectrum of behaviors. Some people may use one of these techniques occasionally. Others may experiment with many different techniques frequently, as often as several times a day. What may start as a desire and a means to drop a few pounds can eventually lead to a full-blown eating disorder. If left unrecognized or untreated, disordered eating can cause irregular menstrual cycles, another symptom of the triad. Although not all diets develop into disordered eating, most Dieting and eating disorders begin with a "harmless" diet. Veronica is a case in point (Steiger H, Lehoux PM, Gauvin L, 1999).


Frustrated at not losing weight, Veronica started a new restrictive diet. She didn't realize or remember that she was hungry most of the time and overeating at night on her previous diet. Instead of starting the day with a low-fat, high-protein breakfast that would curb her hunger and give her energy, ...
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