• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Eating disorders

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Eating disorders Introduction Eating Disorder: - A term that refers to a serious disruption of a person's eating habits or appetite and which may reflect a persons abnormal psychological functioning. The most common eating disorders are Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa. Anorexia Nervosa Anorexia Nervosa is a type of eating disorder in which the person despite being seriously underweight, fears that she or he might become obese and therefore engages in self starvation to prevent this happening. Bulimia Nervosa Bulimia Nervosa is a type of eating disorder in which a person habitually engages in episodes of uncontrollable eating (known as bingeing, followed by self induced vomiting or other compensatory behaviours (purging). People with bulimia have an abnormal concern with body size and a morbid fear of becoming fat. Both Anorexia and Bulimia are most common in adolescent girls, but they do occur in older individuals and are also becoming increasingly frequent in men. They are also more common in European countries, but again incidence is increasing elsewhere. Clinical characteristics of Anorexia Nervosa Anxiety: A key characteristic of anorexia is the anxiety associated with the disorder and excessive fear of being fat. People with anorexia are not simply obsessed with weight but fearful of weight gain. ...read more.

Middle

When stress dies down, appetite should return to normal but it is possible that this does not happen to people with anorexia because they lack the hormone to switch the appetite back on (called AVP). A key characteristic of anorexia is that people with the disorder can resist the need to eat, and this explanation accounts for this. Biochemical factors as a cause or effect of anorexia nervosa - The starvation hypothesis suggests that neurotransmitter and hormone disorders are a consequence rather than a cause of emotional distress. Fichter and Pirke (1995) starved normal individuals, which caused changes in neurotransmitter and hormone levels, supporting the view that starvation causes the changes rather than vice versa. it may be that, once starvation is under way, this leads to changes that then become symptoms of the disorder. The Psychodynamic approach Freud suggested that eating was a substitute for sexual activity. Therefore, not eating was a way to repress sexual thoughts and the onset of sexual maturity. Starvation in adolescence is also a means of avoiding the development of an adult's body. Restricted food intake prevents menstruation and development of secondary sexual characteristics, such as breasts and enlarged hips. ...read more.

Conclusion

Whereas decreased serotonin activity may be responsible for bulimia. (Galla, 1995). This makes sense because people with bulimia overeat and then feel guilty because of the desire to be thin. An increased consumption of Carbohydrates increases the production of serotonin. This has lead to the use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) in the treatment of bulimia. Serotonin either predisposes an individual to develop bulimia, or perpetuates the disorder, or both. Individuals with bulimia may diet because they cannot trust their own physical self-regulators, which sets a vicious cycle in motion leading to related emotional changes that perpetuate and result in abnormal eating behaviours. Neuroanatomy As with anorexia, the hypothalamus plays a role in bulimia. Damage to the hypothalamus can result in overeating or undereating. In animals damage to the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) results in overeating. This happens because the lateral hypothalamus (LH) stimulates eating and the VMH is damages, there is no sense of satiety and overeating occurs, which may result in obesity. In an individual who wishes to be thin, overeating is controlled as far as possible but may then result in excessive binge, which further results in compensation through purging. Serotonin is linked to this process because it helps to regulate the feeding centers of the hypothalamus. Low levels of serotonin stimulate the LH. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level The Psychology of Individual Differences section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level The Psychology of Individual Differences essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Compare and contrast the main approaches - Biological and Behaviourist, biological and cognitive, ...

    4 star(s)

    [12 Marks] There are various reasons why the cognitive and behavioural approaches are similar and different. The behaviourist and cognitive approaches are both similar in that they are useful as they try to treat mental illnesses. The cognitive approach has made important contributions in the field of psychology, particularly that for treatment of depression.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    Classical and Operant Conditioning

    3 star(s)

    Systematic Desensitisation has also been used with OCD patients. The technique of 'exposure and response prevention' has an effectiveness of 60-90% of adults with OCD (Albucher et al, 1998)

  1. Outline and Evaluate the Biological, Psychodynamic and Cognitive Explanations of Abnormality

    The act of forcing a painful memory into the unconscious is known as Repression. The feelings that surround the traumatic event do not disappear; instead these are merely repressed into the unconscious where they may then appear as dreams, irrational behaviour, or eventually a psychological disorder.

  2. Free essay

    Discuss the range of methods available to the psychologist.

    The second technique is Opportunity sampling. This is a non random method of sampling and is the most convenient. This involves the researcher selecting anyone who is available. The final technique is Volunteer (self selecting) sampling. This also a non random method and involves participants selecting themselves to take part in a study and usually involves responding to an advertisement.

  1. Eating Disorders

    The continued admiration acts as a means of reinforcement. The act of refusing food or of excessive weight loss may attract more attention in addition to the continued admiration, acting as a means of reinforcing/rewarding the behaviour. A individual may even feel personal satisfaction, which could act as a reward, as the weight loss punishes their parents.

  2. Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are becoming a major problem ...

    Cultural relativism is the view that there cannot be one definition of abnormality because every society is different and what may seem strange to one person may seem normal to another. This can be related to eating disorders because within certain cultures, specifically western societies at the moment, eating disorders

  1. EVALUATE THE MEDICAL MODEL AND THE BEHAVIOURAL MODEL OF ABNORMALITY

    patient would avoid heights and therefore not have the opportunity to relearn the association in a more adaptive way. Abnormal behaviour can also be unlearned using the same conditioning principles. Watson & Rayner (1920) proposed to rid Little Albert of his fears by pairing a reward with the sight of

  2. Explanations of Successful and Failed Dieting

    This is dependent on setting achievable targets for the amount of weight loss and the time period in which it is to occur.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work