Biological Explanations Of Anorexia Nervosa Essay

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Biological explanations for anorexia nervosa
Biological explanations for anorexia nervosa include neural explanations and evolutionary explanations.
1st BIOLOGICAL EXPLANATION - Neurotransmitters
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It is generally recognized that anorexia nervosa is a familial disorder, but the majority of twin studies have shown that the concordance rate for monozygotic twins is higher (on average 44%) than for dizygotic twins (on average 12.5%). This difference in concordance rates shows that genetic factors, more than common familial environment, may explain why the 'anorexia nervosa' phenotype runs in families (Kipman A). However if AN was due solely to genetics, the concordance rate between MZ twins would be 100%. It also cannot explain how Immigrants who come from countries in which AN does not exist sometimes develop AN even though their family do not have it. There must therefore be other contributing factors to AN. It is therefore highly deterministic that our physiological makeup should determine the onset of AN. Such concept cannot explain cognitive distortions ie ‘body image distortion’ a clinical characteristic of AN. Also no account is given to other influential factors such as media which will influence body image attitudes or the role of Social Learning Theory in reinforcing such weight loss behaviours. Therefore such biological determinism is oversimplified and therefore reductionist, therefore meaning that biological explanations lack …show more content…
Normally, when a person begins to lose weight, physiological mechanisms conserve energy and increase desire for food. These adaptations facilitate survival in hard times.
When severe weight loss with due to severe depletion of food resources means that the adaptive behaviour must be turned off to increase survival, by migrations to a more favourable environment. The hyperactivity found in anorexics may be a form of migratory restlessness. Therefore for modern-day individuals, among those who are genetically vulnerable to anorexia, loosing too much weight may trigger these ancestral mechanisms.


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