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Eating Disorders & Their Neurobiology!

Written and reviewed by
Dr.Boppana Sridhar 91% (82ratings)
MD - Psychiatry
Psychiatrist, Hyderabad  •  5years experience
Eating Disorders & Their Neurobiology!

A psychological disorder which is marked by abnormal eating patterns is known as an eating disorder. Eating disorder, commonly known as anorexia nervosa in medical circles,is often a combination of both abnormal eating and weight gain patterns. Yet, on general diagnosis, eating disorders are categorized into three types, namely, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating. 

Diagnostically put, a person suffering from anorexia nervosa is usually characterized by low body weight as well as a disturbed perception of one's weight. Bulimia nervosa on the other hand includes, persistent binge eating along with loss of self-control and a psychological overvaluation of one's body shape or weight. The third category, which is binge eating, is marked by anxiety, consistent overeating, stress and drastic loss of self-esteem. Although, eating disorder is a commonplace disorder worldwide, the cause of it still remains unknown. 

Yet, recent research has found that due to the fact that eating disorders reflect a physiological anomaly between the need to eat and the drive to eat, a hypothesis is developed stating the cause to be a disturbing appetite pattern on the most fundamental level. This proposition has been further delved into using brain imaging that shows emotions, rewards and eating inhibitions are linked to neural pathways.

Current treatments which include forms of psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy have limited capacity in reducing and normalizing eating disorders. Furthermore, various psychological interventions used to treat eating disorders are variations of psychiatric treatments which are not particular to the needs of the patient with such disorders. Empirical researches have linked inhibitions rewards and maladaptive eating behaviors to alterations in the circuitry of the brain. Furthermore, abnormal metabolistic behaviors are also linked to eating disorders.

Although no concrete remedy exists, a person suffering from eating disorders could get their symptoms minimalized to a certain extent through rehabilitation clinics and therapies.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult a specialist & get answers to your questions!
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