PsychologyNow Team

24th International Conference on Eating Disorders 2016

24th International Conference on Eating Disorders 2016

PsychologyNow Team

The 24th International Conference on Eating Disorders will take place from the 22nd to 24th October 2016 in Alpbach, Austria.


Eating Disorders are regarded as the most typical female disorder at the end of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century. Hysteria - the typical female disorder of the ending 19th century and base for the development of the psychoanalysis by Sigmund Freud - has now given way to Eating Disorders.

"Eating Disorders" is actually the wrong term: Eating is not disturbed in its inseparable unit of biological and social function, but eating-behaviour in the form of weight-loss and compensatory behaviours provide a mechanism for dealing with upsetting or traumatic situations in the past.

Eating Disorders are mental disturbances caused by a disturbed self-esteem, a low self-confidence and a disturbed identity. Due to problems in controlling their social relations, the only "object" which is always available, the body (the weight / the figure), becomes main focus.

Eating Disorders must always be considered with social factors. Eating Disorders occur predominately under relative material and nutritional affluence. Therefore Eating Disorders are found in industrial countries (Europe, Northern America, Australia), in all classes of society. The world wide main problem still is hunger and not Eating Disorders or Obesity.

Eating Disorders are a growing health problem for girls and women. In Austria 200.000 women will probably develop an Eating Disorder illness during their life time. Referring to the Austrian population you may take any sample among all 15-20 year old girls, you'll find at least 2.500 girls suffering from Anorexia and over 5.000 girls suffering from a subclinical Eating Disorder ( = a light progressive form). Among 20-30 year old women are at least 6.500 women suffering from Bulimia.

The main reasons for the rising frequency are the diet behaviour caused by the social thinness obsession, the women's social role and the contradictory role expectations on women. Genetic factors are not proved yet, as Genetics can not change within a few decades! Eating Disorders are not a trendy illness! Anorexia nervosa has the highest premature fatality rate of any mental illness (15-20% die after 20 years)!

The mass media use a curious mixture of glamorisation and stigmatisation regarding the presentation of Eating Disorders. On the one hand Eating Disorders are glamorised and satisfy the reader's needs for sensation; on the other hand Eating Disorders are stigmatised like other mental but also physical illnesses and if considered as a mental illness you'll more and more find the prejudice "It's your own fault".

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