Anorexia Nervosa (AN)

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Anorexia Nervosa (AN)

  Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder and a mental health condition. There are several explanations of anorexia, including biological explanations and psychological explanations. Patients feel an intense drive for thinness, an intense fear of gaining weight or becoming fat and a disturbance in body image. Clinical characteristics include; a body weight less than 85% of the expected weight and a BMI of less than 17.5, also a denial of the illness, and amenorrhea in females

  Neurotransmitters such as Serotonin and Dopamine can add to explanations of AN, differences in the levels of the neurotransmitter Serotonin have shown to be a characteristic of patients with an eating disorder. Research that supports this is by Bailer et al (2007), he researched into this as he compared the Serotonin activity in two types of women, the first type being women recovering from ‘restricting-type’ anorexia, (restricted intake of food) and the second type being ‘binge-eating/purging type, (periods of restricted eating and binging/purging). He then compared both of the levels in these types with healthy controls. His results showed much higher Serotonin levels in those women who were recovering from the binging/purging type. Bailer found the highest levels in women who showed the most anxiety and perfectionism, this suggests that constant and persistent disruption of serotonin levels may lead on to higher anxiety, this then may trigger, and make the patient as risk of AN.

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However, as the link has been found between these women and anxiety and perfectionism, it is questioned whether the alteration in serotonin levels is due to the eating disorder, or whether it is the symptoms of the anxiety causing the disruption in levels. In addition to this, it is not possible to define a cause and effect; does the disruption in serotonin levels cause the vulnerability to the eating disorder? Or is it the eating disorder and the starvation that causes there to be a change in levels of the neurotransmitters?

Another problem of this explanation is that SSRIs, (alter ...

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