Biological Causes of Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa Essay

Biological Causes of Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa Essay

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Biological Causes of Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa


Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa affect millions of people each year in the United States (1). Popular thought holds that these disorders are caused by women trying to fulfill a culturally imposed ideal body image which stresses thinness. As anorexia and bulimia have proven difficult to treat solely with a psychological-based treatment plan it is likely that there are many factors contributing to these disorders. Research has shown, however, that there is a significant biological component which leads to a manifestation of these disorders (2). Current ideas on the biological origins of anorexia and bulimia will be explored in this paper. These include areas ranging from genetic factors to neurotransmitter and hormone imbalances. Genetics appears to play a significant role in predisposing a person to developing an eating disorder. Abnormal neurotransmitter levels have been shown to exist in people with both bulimia and anorexia. Hormone functioning and levels are also atypical in people with eating disorders. While most studies focus on one area, and usually on just one neurotransmitter or hormone, the different biological causes of eating disorders seem to be related to one another. How these possible biological causes influences the I-function (which is the term for the components of the nervous system which give a sense of being oneself) will be examined as well in this paper. Anorexia nervosa is described as a disorder in which women and men intentionally starve themselves, losing at least fifteen percent of their normal body weight. This self imposed emaciation usually begins during puberty and is most common among middle to upper class Caucasian women, affecti...


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...nclusion, however was very useful.
http://www.ama-assn.org/sci-pubs/journal/archive/psyc/vol_54/no_6/oa5354a.htm

9. Research Re: Treatment of Bulimia Nervosa.
This page is a list of absrtacts from research articles centered on the treatment of bulimia. It is good for a quick overview on what is being done currently in this field. The anstracts were generally easy to understand and follow.
http://www.mentalhealth.com/dis-rs2/p25-et02.html

10. Scientific American: Explorations.
This page, from Scientific American, is an article from that journal. It focuses on the discovery of two new hormones related to weight control.
http://www.sciam.com/missing.cfm

11. Eating Disorders.
This is an extensive web site on eating disorders from The Harvard Mental Health Letter. It is well written and very complete.
http://www.mentalhealth.com/mag1/p5h-et03.html

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