Case studies are an important part of clinical psychology. One can learn about the biological, psychological, and social factors involved by studying patients with certain disorders or illnesses. The case study of Christina Ricci and Karen Carpenter are extraordinary and this analysis will give a brief overview of their case as well as discuss the biological, psychological, and social factors involved. This analysis will also explain the need for adaptation in the field of clinical psychology.
Overview of Christina Ricci and Karen Carpenter
Karen Carpenter and Christina Ricci were both diagnosed with anorexia nervosa a psychological disorder. While both women suffered from anorexia nervosa the women did not handle the eating disorder the same way. Christina Ricci grew up in a home where perfectionism was the key to life. Her mother was a perfectionist and her father was a primal scream therapist. Christina Ricci at a very early age started in acting and this could be part of the reason for her anorexia nervosa. The case study of Christina Ricci believes that she was rebelling against her family. As for Karen Carpenter, Karen Carpenter was one of the first women to bring anorexia nervosa to light in the early 1960s. Karen Carpenter like Christina Ricci grew up in a home that was controlling and this drove Karen Carpenter into having an eating disorder and the cause of her death at an early age.
The Biological, Psychological, and Social Factors Involved
Karen Carpenter suffered from anorexia nervosa partially because of her family. Karen Carpenter’s mother was always more concerned with Karen’s older brother than with Karen. Karen sought attention, but however, never got the attention that she needed from her mother causing many psychological and social problems. As Karen matured she fell into a cycle of using laxatives and other pills to help her lose weight. This caused Karen’s body to slowly shut down. At the age of 30 Karen got married to a man that like her mother and her older brother was very controlling. Her marriage failed after 12 months and her husband admitted that “he was too controlling of Karen” (Myer, et al p. 187). Karen eventually sought therapy and was able to put on weight, but Karen started to take ipecac a drug that makes one vomit. Karen Carpenter increased her intake to one entire bottle and the belief is that this is what caused Karen Carpenter to have a heart attack and die. Karen Carpenter was the first star to bring anorexia to light. The biological factor that was hard for Karen to overcome was that her family was mainly obese and Karen’s mother told Karen she would like remain obese her entire life. This brought on the psychological factor of Karen trying to be a perfectionist, then add in social factors such as Karen’s love for music and the love for the spotlight and there is no wonder that Karen Carpenter became a victim of anorexia nervosa.
Christina Ricci unlike Karen Carpenter was not a perfectionist by heart but was more of a self-loathing type because of her family background. (Myer, et al) Christina Ricci grew up rebelling against anyone and everyone who came in her way. From a very early age the actress was a bit chubby and did not recognize this until she was cast for a role playing a younger version of Rosie O’Donnell. This caused Christina Ricci to take notice of her body and this is what is believed to have started those issues with anorexia nervosa. Christina Ricci started to exercise and not eat causing her to lose a large amount of weight. On top of this Christina Ricci started to burn herself to see if she could feel the pain which she publicly admitted to and even at one point showed the press. Christina Ricci unlike Karen Carpenter was an anorectic who believed she learned how to become an anorectic by watching movies on Lifetime that dealt with anorexia nervosa. Christina’s anorexia ended in her...