The Physiology and Psychology of Bulimia Essay

2743 Words11 Pages
The Physiology and Psychology of Bulimia

Bulimia is a disorder centered around an individual’s obsession with food and weight. This obsession involves eating large quantities of food, feeling guilty about the food consumption, and taking drastic measures to prevent caloric/fat absorption. Measures vary with each individual and include one or all of the following: forced vomiting, abuse of laxatives or diuretics, or excessive exercise. This disease affects one to three percent of adolescent and young women in the United States, and bulimic behaviors are displayed by ten to twenty percent of adolescent and young women in the United States (http://dcs.engr.widener.edu/galla/gal la.htm).

In the studies of bulimia nervosa there is a
…show more content…
One hypothesis suggests that bulimia nervosa is the behavioral manifestation of the underactivity of serotonin. Serotonin is one of the hormones/neurotransmitters that regulates vital functions, such as eating, in the central nervous system. It is also thought to be responsible for controlling states of consciousness and mood. Serotonin is special: its own synthesis and release is enhanced by some foods, suppressed by others, and unaffected by yet others. The effects are all dependent on nutritional content. Transmitters are also affected by not eating. The brain easily detects how long an individual has gone without food. These qualities enable serotonin-releasing neurons to control one type of appetite: that for eating the appropriate amounts of carbohydrates and proteins. However, these same neurons can cause food consumption to affect other behaviors linked with serotonin such as sleepiness and environmental stimuli. They may also allow mood disturbances to override appetite control mechanisms, causing an individual to eat unnecessarily (Winik 27-34).

Food should produce
Get Access