In this blog post, we shall answer the question, “is drag me to hell about eating disorders?” and look at what the movie is about. We shall also look at what eating disorders are, their types and the management of eating disorders.
Is drag me to hell about eating disorders?
Yes, drag me to hell’s storyline can be interpreted to show a girl struggling with an eating disorder. The horror movie has been interpreted to depict many things, and one of them is that Christine Brown, has an eating disorder. The scary things that happen to her could be hallucinations and representations of the extreme fear she has about food.
Before we look at the storyline and how it shows eating disorders, let us first look at what the movie is about.
What is drag me to hell?
It is a 2009 supernatural horror movie that stars Alison Lohman who plays the main character, Christine Brown. She is a loan officer who was cursed by an old lady after denying her a loan. The demon called Lamia was known to torment someone for three days and then drags them to hell.
Interpretation of the movie
An interpretation of the movie depicts a farm girl with an eating disorder who starves herself to try to fit a certain image and as a result, starts to hallucinate. Christine admits that her mother had an eating disorder and we are shown a picture of overweight Christine with the caption “swine queen.”
The theory depicts that the scary demon is a hallucination. She never touches food and this makes her irritable. Early in the film, she passes out in her car and drives into other cars in the parking lot. We also note that every time food is introduced on screen, the demon attacks.
She is usually attacked in the kitchen, and dreams when she is being vomited on while in fact, she is the one vomiting in the bathroom. She also dreams of a fly entering her stomach while it is just her stomach growling from lack of feeding. At one point when she is forced to eat, she sees an eye staring back at her inside the cake, making her choke on her food.
This interesting theory can show some symptoms of eating disorders and though the deeper meaning could be hidden from many, it is important to educate ourselves about eating disorders and how to treat them.
What are eating disorders?
Eating disorders are mental illnesses characterized by abnormal eating habits, and complex and damaging relationships between food, exercise and body image that impairs physical and mental health.
Eating disorders are also known to cause death. In fact, about one person dies every hour as a direct result of an eating disorder. (Eating Disorders Coalition, 2016)
Types of eating disorders
According to the Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders fifth edition (DSM-5), there are six types of eating disorders. Obesity is no longer included as an eating disorder since it results from long-term excess energy intake relative to energy expenditure.
A range of genetics, physiological, behavioural, and environmental factors that vary across individuals contribute to the development of obesity; thus, obesity is not a mental disorder. (Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders fifth edition 2013).
The six eating disorders are;
Pica is a feeding and eating disorder characterized by eating non-nutritive non-food substances such as ice, clay, soil, paper and stones. Can be caused by nutrition deficiencies, pregnancy, stress and cultural factors.
It is an eating disorder characterized by spitting up digested or partially digested food from the stomach, re-chewing the food and either re-swallowing or spitting it out. It tends to occur within 30 minutes of every meal. The causes of rumination remain unknown.
Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder.
Formally referred to as selective eating disorder, is an eating disorder characterized by intense restriction or selection of food consumed. Unlike anorexia nervosa, people with this eating disorder are not interested in their body image, shape or size.
Is a severe eating disorder characterized by abnormal body weight, distorted body image, and unwarranted fear of gaining weight. In order to prevent weight gain, anorexic people try to control their body weight by vomiting food, using laxatives, diet aids, and excessive exercise.
Common symptoms include extreme low body weight, dizziness, insomnia, fatigue, dry skin, hair that easily falls off, preoccupation with food, skipping meals, refusing to eat, denying hunger, complaints of being overweight, measuring weight often and lying about the quantity of food taken.
Causes include; biological factors such as genes, psychological factors such as temperaments and environmental factors such as societal demands.
Usually begins during the teenage and early adulthood years. It is more common in women than in men.
Anorexia is the most deadly mental illness. One study found that people with anorexia are 56 times more likely to commit suicide than people without an eating disorder. (Eating Disorders Coalition, 2016).
Is a mental disorder characterized by binge eating (consuming large quantities of food over a short period of time) followed by calorie reducing strategies such as purging (induced vomiting), fasting and excessive exercise.
Bulimia is a severe, life-threatening eating disorder. Symptoms include; binge eating, vomiting, self-harm, fatigue, dehydration, avoiding food, irregular and absence of menstruation, constipation, heartburn and guilt.
Causes include genetic factors, psychological factors such as personality, dieting and societal pressure.
Binge eating disorder
Binge eating is an eating disorder characterized by consuming large amounts of food over a short period of time, and feelings of being unable to stop eating even when full. It is the most common eating disorder with a prevalence of 5.5%.
Symptoms include; eating large amounts of food over a short period of time, eating even when not hungry, feeling that your eating behaviour is out of control, eating until you are uncomfortably full, eating in secret, eating alone and feelings of depression and guilt.
Unlike people with bulimia, binge eaters are not concerned with weight reduction through vomiting, using laxatives or excessive exercise and can thus suffer from other physical conditions such as obesity.
It is more common in women than in men and usually begins during early adulthood. Causes include dieting and psychological issues such as depression and low self-esteem.
Management and treatment of eating disorders
Many people deny having eating disorders and only seek treatment when their condition is serious or life-threatening. The most challenging part of treatment is getting the individual affected to accept treatment. Most of those in treatment centres are coerced/forced into treatment by their loved ones which makes treatment long and tedious.
Treatment includes strategies like:
Some healthcare providers recommend the use of a prescription nutritional supplement to help the body regain weight for those who are underweight. They can also prescribe medication to treat anxiety and depressive symptoms which are common in people suffering from eating disorders. Some psychotic medication like olanzapine is good for weight gain. Some other medications help with period regulation.
This helps in restoring a healthy relationship with food and eating patterns, teaching healthy approaches to food, teaching the importance of nutrition and eating balanced meals and helping restore normal eating patterns.
Individual counselling helps in changing the thinking (cognitive therapy) and behaviour (behavioural therapy) of the individual with an eating disorder. Therapy helps the person accept and get committed to treatment, address distorted thinking patterns surrounding food, develop new skills in dealing with negative thought patterns and behaviours and also solve interpersonal conflicts.
Family and group therapy
Family support is crucial in the life of a person recovering from an eating disorder. They must understand and be aware of the symptoms and warning signs of the disorder. Group therapy with those going through the same is also important in opening up without feeling judged and getting realistic and workable solutions from others.
This is necessary for those with severe weight loss resulting in malnutrition or those with severe mental and physical effects of eating disorders. This includes those with heart complications, depression or suicidal thoughts, ideations or trials.
We have looked at what drag me to hell is about and how it can be interpreted to show the struggles one goes through with eating disorders. We have also looked at what eating disorders are, their types and symptoms. Finally, we have looked at the management and treatment of eating disorders.
If you have any questions or comments, please let us know in the comment section below.
Frequently asked questions: drag me to hell eating disorders
Which eating disorder is the most serious?
Anorexia nervosa is said to be the most serious eating disorder as it has a higher mortality rate than other eating disorders. It also has extreme physical side effects and is harmful both mentally and physically.
What drives a person to have an eating disorder?
The causes of eating disorders are unknown. Just like other mental illnesses, genetics, environmental factors, and psychological factors like trauma can predispose one to get eating disorders.
What eating disorder is the most common?
Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the US as documented by the National Eating Disorders Association. Its main characteristic is having episodes of eating larger amounts of food quickly to a point of discomfort.
Sciretta P. (June 11, 2009). Crazy Film Theory: Drag Me To Hell Is Really About A Girl With An Eating Disorder. Retrieved from https://www.slashfilm.com/504132/is-drag-me-to-hell-really-about-a-girl-with-an-eating-disorder/
Healthline, 6 Common Types of Eating Disorders (and Their Symptoms). Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/common-eating-disorders
Mayo Clinic, eating disorders. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/eating-disorders/symptoms-causes/syc-20353603