Understanding Anorexia Nervosa

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Introduction Abnormal eating and an unhealthy preoccupation with ones body image is the hallmark of an eating disorder. Anorexia nervosa is a type of eating disorder where the individual is at least 15% below his/her expected body weight and is using various methods to stop them from gaining weight. This disorder mainly affects adolescent girls and young women. There are two categories of anorexia nervosa: restricting and binge-eating/purging. The restricting type does just what the name implies: they restrict what they eat. By severely under eating, they are able to maintain a low weight. The binge-eating/purging type eats much more food at one time than most people would eat in the same context. For example, a snack might be a whole pack…show more content…
Using 36 men who participated in this experiment as an alternative for going to war, Keys witnessed the horrible psychological effects of starvation: sensitivity to light, cold, and noise; less sleep; decreased sex drive; and a worsened mood. These men even showed signs of depression and anxiety. What sadder is that these horrific effects persisted for months after the men were returned to their normal diets. A young girl with anorexia nervosa might be thinking that she’s just losing a few calories to stay thin. In the end, however, she could be losing her life. Causes Much research has been done to determine whether abnormalities in the brain could be a possible factor for people with an eating disorder. Neuroimaging studies have revealed many differences between the brains of people with eating disorders and the brains of those without it. Take, for example, the study done by Dr. Laura M. Holsen and her colleagues at Harvard. They hypothesized that a causal factor for victims with anorexia nervosa might be lower-than-normal levels of food motivation in the sections of the brain that control your appetite. For her study, she used 12 women with restricting type anorexia nervosa, 10 that had a history of anorexia nervosa and were now at a healthy weight, and 11 healthy women who were the control group. After fasting for 12 hours, the participants were asked to consume a meal in 15
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