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Serotonin's Effect on Eating Disorders
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter (chemical message), which is involved in the control of
many different behaviours and emotions, such as sleep, anger, depression and
Low levels of serotonin causes depression and low moods, and has been linked to
Binge Eating Disorder and Bulimia. Starchy foods such as sweets, bread etc. increase
serotonin levels, so in theory, eating large amounts of these foods can actually make
a person feel better; eating disordered people often binge on food like these, to
comfort them. However, for people with bulimia, the fear of weight gain is so intense
that they feel the need to purge, through either self induced vomiting, laxative use or
High levels of serotonin cause a sense of anxiety in a person. In theory, by
reducing caloric intake, to starvation level, a person would feel calmer and like they
have regained control. Anorectics often have issues with control, and these issues
are expressed through heir eating patterns.…read more
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Cultural and Social Pressures
In a society where obesity is seen as an epidemic, people (particularly young women) who
achieve thinness believe they have accomplished a major cultural and personal victory.
They have overcome the temptations of junk food and, at the same time, created body
images idealized by the media. Weight loss brings a feeling of triumph over helplessness.
This sense of accomplishment is often reinforced by the envy of heavier companions who
perceive the anorexic friend as being emotionally stronger and more sexually attractive.
Negative family influences can cause also lead to eating disorders. People who were
insecure infant often go on to develop eating disorders in later life. Children in families
with parents who are constantly dieting, or even have eating disorders themselves, grow
up believing food is a `sin' and learn that food is the only way to express emotions.
Children who come from a family with a history of obesity are at a higher risk of
developing bulimia or binge eating disorder, as they also learn that food is a way of
communicating and expressing feelings.…read more