DOI: 10.14704/nq.2013.11.1.642

A Quantum Psychopathological Account of Anorexia Nervosa

Andy Marlow


Anorexia Nervosa (AN) is a mental disorder characterised by a refusal to maintain body weight at or above 85% of the minimally normal weight for age and height, an intense fear of gaining weight and a disturbance in the way in which one’s body is perceived such that the sufferer is often unable to see that s/he is underweight. Contemporary psychodynamic, feminist and neuropsychological accounts of AN present only partial and sometimes conflicting accounts of this disorder. A quantum psychopathological account of AN might therefore enrich our understanding of this disorder by providing links between the social and the neural explanations for AN while at the same time adding substantially to their depth. In this vein, this paper follows and builds on the recent work of Donald Mender, who has suggested that Quantum Paradigms of Psychopathology (QPP) might be preferable to the currently prevalent biopsychosocial model of mental illness, and who has more specifically suggested that quantum theories of mind might offer a way to render psychoanalytical accounts of mental illness scientifically falsifiable. The first part of this paper will provide a brief yet thorough account of the psychodynamic, feminist and neuropsychological accounts of AN; the second will provide an in-depth overview of four contemporary quantum theories of mind; and the third will consider how these theories might be useful in our understanding of AN, examining specifically their impact on neuropsychology, their impact on psychotherapy and finally the possibility of developing a Quantum Object Relations (QOR) account of AN, based on Mender’s suggestion that “sociable” bosons might account for the impact of internalised ‘objects’ on a patient’s mental health, as identified in the psychoanalytic literature.

NeuroQuantology | March 2013 | Volume 11 | Issue 1| Page 63-82


anorexia nervosa; quantum mind; quantum psychopathology

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Supporting Agencies

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

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