FST biological explanation for AN

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  • Psychological explanations of AN
    • Family systems theory
      • Psychodynamic theory of AN by Minuchin
        • Minuchin identified four main features associated with an anorexic family
      • 1) enmeshment: members of an anorexic family are too involved with each other
        • Boundaries are 'fuzzy'
        • Poorly defined roles and lack of leadership
        • Members spend a lot of time together
        • Means that adolescent daughter tries to differentiate her identity by refusing to eat
          • Families identities overlap
        • Families identities overlap
      • 2) overprotective: family members constantly defend each other from external forces
        • Obsessive nurturing reinforces family loyalty leaving no room for independence
        • Mother of the daughter with AN saw her role as a personal sacrifice.
          • The mother felt that her decisions were for the daughters benefit and not her own, making it easier to blame her daughter when things went wrong
      • 3) Rigidity: interactions within anorexic families are extremely inflexible
        • deny the need for change and try to keep things as they are
        • problems arise due to pressure
          • Family is too rigid to adapt so go into crisis
        • Example: AN daughter wants to differentiate her identity which is then squashed by family
          • results in dysfunctional behaviour such as AN
      • 4) Conflict avoidance
        • family suppress conflict and refuse to discuss issues
        • problems aren't solved and fester into crisis
          • AN daughter refuses to eat and family refuses to acknowledge this
      • Brunch
        • Argues that AN is caused by adolescent daughters struggle to achieve autonomy and control
          • Intrusive mother does not accept daughters need for independance
        • Causes daughter to have distorted body image, loos of control and controls this by controlling her body (the thinner the more control)


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