Eating Disorder Research Essay example

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To what extent do biological approaches successfully explain eating disorders?

There are many different biological approaches that explain the reasons for eating disorders they all have some validity behind them to a certain extent. An eating disorder is a psychological dysfunction that causes a person to change their eating habits to eating less, or more etc.

Firstly a biological approach was studied by Holland (1988) on genetic concordance between identical twins and non-identical twins. Holland was trying to discover the connection between anorexia and genetics through twins. Holland's study consisted of taking pairs of Monozygotic (identical) and Dizygotic (non-identical) with one of the twins suffering from anorexia;
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Also the study was only done with twins and therefore the same results may not be found between parent and child etc, but the study does show that genetics can play a part in developing anorexia. For using concordance rates these studies can be criticised, since concordance rates alone cannot be to blame for twins developing an eating disorder, the causes can also be observational experiences/ learning such as constantly being surrounded by thin people and you are overweight.

Fava did another study done on eating disorder on seretonin. Fava discovered a link between the levels of seretonin and anorexia. This showed that biologically the levels of seretonin in a person could cause them to develop anorexia. However Fava did not show whether this change in the levels of seretonin he discovered was a cause for the participants developing anorexia or whether it is a result of anorexia. Since people who suffer from anorexia are often depressed it is difficult to show whether it is a result or cause.

Garfinkel and Garner did another study on biological causes for anorexia. They discovered that anorexia sufferers had a disturbed hypothalamus. This could mean that there is a link between the hypothalamus and eating disorders. However not everyone with anorexia have a hypothalamus dysfunction.

Park et al (1995) were important in discovering a biological link with anorexia. Park et

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