Eating disorders and the recovery process

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Parsons, Harriet
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MA in Addiction Studies
Dublin Business School
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Using qualitative research methods this thesis examines the recovery process from eating disorders within the context of addiction. The central question being asked is what needs to change in order for a sufferer to consider herself recovered? To answer this question three, objectives were reached. Firstly, the relationship between addiction and eating disorders was explored from a psychological and a psychoanalytical perspective. Secondly, treatment from the sufferer's perspective was examined which entailed identifying the function of the eating disorder in a sufferer's life, particularly with regard to the roles played by control and self-esteem. Thirdly, factors which change during the recovery process were identified and examined from the sufferer's perspective. Changes in a sufferer's control and self-esteem were found to be central to the recovery process and underlying other factors such as awareness, freedom, independence, learning step by step, and calmness. It is argued that while these factors are inter-related and multi-layered, there is a disparity in how and when these factors change during the process of recovery.