Biological explanations of AN: Dopamine


Biological explanations of AN: Dopamine


  • Favaro et al (2006) followed a group of children from birth to adulthood and their research supports the view that birth complications can cause AN. They found that placental infarction (obstructed blood supply in the placenta) was associated with the risk of developing AN because it caused early eating difficulties which may be unconsciously carried on throughout the child's life.



The neurological explanations are extremely biological and on the side of nature over nurture. No where in the neurological arguments are potential psychological causes of AN mentioned. This makes the approach reductionist because it reduces complex human behaviour down to one factor. We must take a holistic view, as there is research to support psychological explanations of AN (such as Gregory et al 2000), as well as biological explanations of AN.The biological explanations can be criticised as biologically deterministic because they ignore the free will and ability of individuals to control their own behaviour. The explanations suggest that if someone has particular genes or biochemical imbalances they will inevitably have an eating disorder, which ignores the individual’s motivation to resist or overcome eating disorder.


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