Anorexia Nervosa (cont.)

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:
Medical Editor:

What causes anorexia nervosa?

At this time, no definite cause of anorexia nervosa has been determined. However, research within the medical and psychological fields continues to explore possible causes.

Studies suggest that a genetic (inherited) component may play a more significant role in determining a person's susceptibility to anorexia than was previously thought. Researchers are currently attempting to identify the particular gene or genes that might affect a person's tendency to develop this disorder, and preliminary studies suggest that a gene located at chromosome 1p seems to be involved in determining a person's susceptibility to anorexia nervosa.

Other evidence had pinpointed a dysfunction in the part of the brain called the hypothalamus (which regulates certain metabolic processes), as contributing to the development of anorexia. Other studies have suggested that imbalances in neurotransmitter (brain chemicals involved in signaling and regulatory processes) levels in the brain may occur in people suffering from anorexia.

Feeding problems as an infant, a general history of under-eating, and maternal depressive symptoms tend to be risk factors for developing anorexia. Other personal characteristics that can predispose an individual to the development of anorexia include a high level of negative feelings and perfectionism. For many individuals with anorexia, the destructive cycle begins with the pressure to be thin and attractive. A poor self-image compounds the problem. People who suffer from any eating disorder are more likely to have been the victim of childhood abuse.

While some professionals remain of the opinion that family discord and high demands from parents can put a person at risk for developing this disorder, the increasing evidence against the idea that families cause anorexia has mounted to such an extent that professional mental health organizations no longer ascribe to that theory. Possible factors that protect against the development of anorexia include high maternal body mass index (BMI) as well as personal high self-esteem.


Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Anorexia Nervosa - Treatments Question: What treatment has been effective for your anorexia?
Anorexia - Share Your Experience Question: Please share your experience with anorexia nervosa.
Anorexia - Psychological Symptoms Question: What psychological or behavioral symptoms did you experience with anorexia nervosa?
Anorexia - Physical Symptoms Question: Describe the physical symptoms you experienced with anorexia nervosa.
Anorexia - Prognosis Question: Did you, a friend, or relative have anorexia? Please share the prognosis or outcome.
Anorexia - Prevention Question: Please share suggestions for preventing anorexia nervosa.

STAY INFORMED

Get the Latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!