Discuss biological explanations of AN

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  • Created by: KCharlish
  • Created on: 21-03-16 20:35

AO1 1 - Serotonin

  • Disruption of serotonin levels leads to increased anxiety = trigger AN
  • Bailer - high levels of serotonin in women with AN.
    • highest levels in those with the most anxiety.
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AO1 2 - Dopamine

  • increased dopamine in the basal ganglia alters the way people interpret rewards. 
    • individuals with AN find it difficult to associate good feelings with things that are usually pleasurable.
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AO1 3 - Pregnancy and birth complications

  • Inadequate nutrition during pregnancy among mothers with an eating disorder may act as a diathesis for the development of AN in the child. 
  • Lindberg and Hjern - significant association between birth complications and the development of AN.
  • Birth complications such as lack of oxygen may cause brain damage = impair neurodevelopment
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AO1 4 - Adapted to flee

  • symptoms of AN reflect evolved adaption in response to local famine conditions.
  • Increasing desire for food must be 'turned off' to increase their chances of survival by moving to a more favourable environment.
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AO2 1 - SSRIs

  • ineffective when used with AN patients
  • However, some studies report that SSRIs may help to elevate mood and reduce some of the obsessive symptoms of anorexia. 
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AO2 2 - dopamine support

  • Castro Fornieles - adolescent girls with AN had higher levels of HVA.
  • However, Wang found that obese individuals had lower than normal levels of dopamine - suggesting an inverse relationship between levels of dopamine and body weight. 
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AO2 3 - Complications support

  • Favaro - the perinatal complications associated with risk of developing AN were: obstructed blood supply in the placenta, early eating difficulties and low birth weight. 
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AO2 4 - Parental feelings of guilt

  • biological explanations reduce parental feelings of guilt. 
  • People realise they are dealing with treatable dysfuntional biology, rather than a dysfunctional family. 
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AO2 5 - IDA

  • Biological explanations offer the possibility for treatments involving bringing neurotransmitter levels into balance.
  • Bilogical causes can help with insurance payouts
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AO2 6 - Evolutionary limitations

  • AN decreases fertility and makes reproduction more difficult
  • Evolutionary explanations do not fully explain how AN would have been passed down through natural selection.
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IDA 2 - Gender bias

  • 25% of adults with eating disorders are male. 
  • many studies focus on women
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