Food Preoccupation

Families are likely to see food preoccupation in their children whether they are suffering from Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia Nervosa. Anorexic patients often spend significant time watching television cooking programs, looking up recipes, grocery shopping, pack lunches for siblings and parents, even planning and preparing menus for their families. Many will hoard food, but not eat it. They may become overly involved and critical of the eating habits of friends or family members. Food oftentimes becomes the main topic of conversation, reading, dreams, papers, etc. Individuals frequently will seek employment that puts them in contact with food i.e. chef, waitress, server, food preparation. A common symptom of starvation is hoarding of food and non-food related items, saving or collecting but not with the intention of consuming. These are all ways of being surrounded by food however not ingesting it.  In the Minnesota starvation study, it was observed that subjects continued to be plagued by incessant thoughts of food and eating. Food became a principal topic of conversation, reading, and daydreams. Patients suffering with bulimia nervosa are driven by the compulsion to hoard and eat copious amounts of food in secrecy.

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