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The Golden Cage: The Enigma of Anorexia Nervosa

3.52  ·  Rating Details  ·  329 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
First published more than twenty years ago, with almost 150,000 copies sold, "The Golden Cage" is still the classic book on anorexia nervosa, for patients, parents, mental health trainees, and senior therapists alike. Writing in direct, jargon-free style, often quoting her patients descriptions of their own experience of illness and recovery, Bruch describes the relentless ...more
Paperback, 174 pages
Published May 2nd 2001 by Harvard University Press (first published 1978)
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May 16, 2011 Rachel rated it liked it
the book, of course, is somewhat dated. Not only have we achieved medical and psychological advances in the treatment of anorexia nervosa, but professionals have changed their attitudes about gender roles, patriarchal families, and so on. Also, eating disorders have become even more prevalent since the time this book was first published, and the public is more aware of the disorder. What I admire about this book, though, is its clear, tough, yet compassionate examination of anorexia nervosa as a ...more
Jordan Isaacs
Nov 09, 2015 Jordan Isaacs rated it liked it
This book is supposedly a "must-read" for anorexics, their families, and therapists. Bruch uses case histories of former patients to describe the disease, its consequences, and difficulty in treatment. The stories are compelling and make this book seem accessible to people who are not psychologists or therapists. The book helps to demystify anorexia for the general public.
Charlotte Bevan
Apr 11, 2013 Charlotte Bevan rated it did not like it
Some 30 years out of date and a very destructive book. Science has moved on and most of Bruch's clinical observation about the role of the family, control and other clinical observations have been disproved. Sadly, too many clinicians treating eating disorders have yet to let go of this as a clinical text book.

Whilst Bruch did much to raise the profile of eating disorders, her theories and observations were just that. Evidence based research and advances in genetics and biology have moved us on
Jun 12, 2012 Ayla rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A glimpse into the underlying causes of the disease. How it is not the food but issues of control and pychological well being, the need to be accepted or in some cases an outlet for the pressures of being perfect what the family or parents desire the child to be rather than what the child wants to be. Most of those inflicted by this disorder come from affluent families that have high motivations and hopes for the children, in this study the doctor looks at how these pressures affect these childr ...more
Apr 11, 2013 Becky rated it did not like it
If you want to blame your mother for your eating disorder, read unscientific, outdated theories about eating disorders, then this is the book for you. If you want information backed up by science that is up to date in 2013 this will not give you that. The damage done by these theories about mothers is criminal. Correlation does not equal causation. This book is a great example of how unsubstantiated theories spread and linger and do harm to society.
Becky Henry

Jun 08, 2007 stephanie rated it it was amazing
maybe the first book to really examine anorexia as a psychological disorder that wasn't comorbid with "hysteria" or whatnot (though note, the dsm diagnosis is still "anorexia nervousa), hilde birch uses case studies to prove her points in a very forward-thinking way. amazing when you think about how long ago this book was published. a serious must-read for anyone with any interest in EDs.
May 06, 2012 Lorey rated it really liked it
Dated but informative. I'm glad we've learned a lot since this was published, a good resource for my paper but somewhat irritating at times.
Janelle Silbert
Sep 10, 2014 Janelle Silbert rated it it was amazing
Gives a really good overview of anorexia nervosa, as well as some of the complicating factors
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