Anorexia nervosa (AN) is widely known as an eating disorder. People with anorexia nervosa are obsessively concern about gaining weight (Atalayer, 2018). This results in symptoms like excessive restraint in their dietary intake (starvation) and binge-eating (Atalayer, 2018). After binge-eating many feel guilty of their loss of self-control and start to excessively exercise or use laxative to avoid gaining weight despite being severely underweight (Atalayer, 2018). Patients with AN are strongly believed to have a distorted image of their body that can be influenced by many external factors such as society’s ideals of value and beauty. This can causes anxiety when they see a slight change to their body weight (OpenStax, 2014). AN is said to have the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder and affects about 0.9% of women and 0.3% of men (Atalayer, 2018).
In the past, psychological disorders were viewed as supernatural and thought to be practitioners of black magic or possessed by spirits and was a force beyond scientific understanding (OpenStax, 2014). However, scientist are beginning to understand that that is not the case and beginning to try to understand and diagnose it from a biological and psychological perspective (OpenStax, 2014). According to Atalayer, AN is a life-threatening psychiatric disorder of unknown etiology that involves heterogeneous environmental and genetic factors (Atalayer, 2018). It also has a complex psychopathology and pathophysiology (Atalayer, 2018). In addition to the theories based solely on the psychological and sociocultural factors used to explain psychiatric disorders, there is growing evidence surfacing in the past decade supporting a multifactorial etiology with genetic and neurological components and the literature on the brain-related impairments in AN patients (Atalayer, 2018).
In Atalayer’s (2018) article, Neuroimaging methods such as a positron emission tomography (PET), singlephoton emission computed tomography (SPECT), diffusion weighted imaging (DWI), and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and functional MRI (fMRI) are being used to assess the alterations in neural regions and the related symptoms in AN patients compared to the healthy population (p. 349). Although inconsistency exist in these methods, it still helped researchers clarify a neuropathology related to AN, such as brain abnormalities (Atalayer, 2018). Results from numerous studies with multidisciplinary approach seem to imply that impairments in one or multiple cognitive components may underlie AN symptomatology (Atalayer, 2018). Majority of the neuroimaging studies reported reductions in gray matter volume in AN patients which may be recovered following weight recovery whereas reports on alterations in white matter volume and cerebral spinal fluid have not been consistent (Atalayer, 2018). Researchers were able to see how AN affects the brain
Although there have been studies researched about AN on AN patients, the most they have been able to find was which part of the brain was damaged and what could be recovered after rehabilitation. Even with therapy out there to help, AN is still considered to have the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder as the mind could be influence by any external factors (Atalayer, 2018). Since anorexia nervosa is a psychiatric disorder with pathology related to eating behavior (Atalayer, 2018) and involves heterogeneous environmental and genetic factors there is probably no definite way to prevent it. However, emotions and feelings always play a big role affecting a person so maybe one way to lessen it would to promote self-love to the society. Taking care of the worlds view and expectations can help relieve some of the stress and anxiety (OpenStax, 2014) which can in turn help decrease AN in some cases.
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