More than five million Americans suffer from eating disorders, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, and an estimated 1,000 women die each year from anorexia nervosa. Often quoting her patients' descriptions of their own experience of illness and recovery, Hilde Bruch described the relentless pursuit of thinness and the search for superiority in self-denial that characterize anorexia nervosa.
The story of the disorder itself is beautifully written, presented with a deftness, lightness, and accuracy that make the reader yearn to turn the page, to watch the unfolding of this very enigmatic disorder. This is the single most important professionally written book for laypersons and parents. -- Shervert H. Frazier, M.D., McLean Hospital The chief symptom is shocking: self-starvation leading to a devastating weight loss. The treatment is difficult, the cure elusive, and facts about the disease are not well known. Yet anorexia nervosa, an illness that was once quite rare, now afflicts increasing numbers of adolescents. In The Golden Cage, a renowned psychiatrist-recognized as one of the world's leading authorities on anorexia nervosa-relates her experience and discoveries in dealing with this baffling disorder. It is not, as the name implies, simply a loss of appetite. Rather, it involves a relentless pursuit of excessive thinness, undertaken despite continual hunger, acute pain, and occasionally fatal consequences. Dr. Bruch uses numerous examples from her own case studies to give a vivid picture of the causes, effects, and possible treatment of the disease. Her main concern: how can the symptoms be detected before they become entrenched as anorexia? The victims of anorexia are mostly adolescent and preadolescent girls who have otherwise been model children from "good homes." Often they feel trapped by unattainable goals and expectations-a golden cage of privilege where they feel they do not belong and cannot survive. Dr. Bruch's experience has convinced her that early diagnosis is essential to any treatment of anorexia, and her book is addressed "to physicians, teachers, school counselors, and parents-to all who are in a position of observing these youngsters before a chronic and often irreversible state develops." Hilde Bruch is Professor of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine and is the author of numerous articles and books, including Eating Disorders. Her latest book, Learning Psychotherapy: Rationale and Ground Rules, was published by Harvard University Press.
Hilde Bruch was Professor of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine and the author of several books including Eating Disorders.
1. The Hunger Disease 2. Sparrow in a Cage 3. The Perfect Childhood 4. How It Starts 5. The Anorexic Stance 6. Weight Correction 7. Family Disengagement 8. Changing the Mind