Etiology of Anorexia Nervosa

AN may arise from biological, social and psychological factors. Biological factors include the effect of endogenous opioids, which, for instance, “contribute to the denial of hunger in patients with aneroxia nervosa” (Sadock, Kaplan & Sadok, 2007, p. 727). Sadock, Kaplan and Sadock, citing various studies, for instance note that administration of opiate antagonists could lead to weight gain in patients with AN (2007, p. 727). Such observations evidence that endogenous opioids may play a significant role in the development and progression of AN. Additionally, genetic factors may explain the development of AN since the disorder is highly familial (Bulik et al., 2005).

Social factors that may lead to AN include society’s emphasis on thinness and exercise and troubled relationships in the family, with vocational and other interests mediating the effect of such social factors on an individual’s vulnerability (Sadock, Kaplan & Sadok, 2007, p. 727). The profiles of celebrities who have experienced AN exemplify the significance of social factors as a determinant of AN. Such celebrities include Mary-Kate (an American actress), Alanis Morissette (Canadian singer), Karen Carpenter (a singer who died due to anorexia), Barbara Niven (Actress), and Victoria Beckham (a model). Psychological factors associated with development of AN include a lack of autonomy, low self-esteem and negative self-evaluation especially in adolescents (Sadock, Kaplan & Sadok, 2007, p. 727). go to part 5 here.

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