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Question

16 Jun 2011

Thinking
I have heard before that all good/all bad or black/white thinking is typical of " addictive thinking"  and common in eating disorders. Why is that the case? And what are the dangers?
Answer 366 views
Expert
Eating Disorders Expert
Eating Disorders and Obesity Expert

01 Jan 0001

Hi Sam,
You are describing what in our language is referred to as dichotomous thinking, where thinking in extremes is the result of struggling to identify or behave with moderation. It would be true to say that many addicts and individuals with addictive personalities do struggle to moderate their lives and tend, rather, to respond to situations in extreme "all-or-nothing" ways. The "value" to the sufferer is that it appears to them that they are being more decisive and clear in their actions if they are black or white, rather than engaging in the sensitivities of the many grey shades. Being an extremist, is also an expression of impulsivity, something that most addicts struggle with and need to become equipped to deal with more maturely and responsibly. Many addicts (certainly not all) also suffer from a personality disorder called Borderline Pesonality Disorder (Google it), where one of the features that defines the disorder is "dichotomous thinking". Such personalities tend to be very self-destructive, unstable in their relationships, fear rejection, and engage in dangerous situations. Being borderline is quite common amongst bulimics, where their dichotomous thinking is acted out in the eating disorder that involved extremes, viz, binging and purging. In other words, the eating disorder is a symptomatic vehicle or metaphor that refelcts their extremist thinking and actions. I hope that this heps a little.
Regards,
Graham
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