The Causality And Development Of Bulimia

1054 words - 4 pages

There are several different theories about the causality and
development of bulimia. Bulimia may have a genetic and hereditary
component aswell as a socio-environmental component. Other
psychological factors involved include mood disorders and substance
abuse in families of people with bulimia.

One aspect of the biological perspective suggests that people with
bulimia have a low serotonin level which is a brain chemical involved
with both well-being and appetite. It was also suggested that a low
central dopamine level was correlated with abnormal responses to food.
Jimmerson et al investigated this perspective. Cerebrospinal fluid
neurotransmitter metabolite levels were studied to assess whether
measures of central serotonin, dopamine, or norepinephrine function
are associated with severity of abnormal eating patterns in patients
with bulimia nervosa. In comparison with healthy controls ,
hospitalized bulimic patients with a history of binge eating more
frequently than twice daily had significantly lower CSF concentrations
of these brain chemicals. For the total patient group, levels of both
chemicals were significantly inversely correlated with binge
frequency. This may be due to the fact that low levels of serotonin
are related to causing cravings for carbohydrates and subsequent binge
eating. Another biological model is known as the ‘set-point’ theory
(Keesey and Corbett 1984). They suggested that a part of the brain
called the lateral hypothalamas which is responsible for feelings of
hunger and satiety may be imbalanced in Bulimic people. According to
the theory, as an individual diets and loses weight, activity in the
hypothalamas drops and increases the urge to eat. This process
eventually increases and usually leads to binging behaviours and the
subsequent development of Bulimia. A further possible biological
cause may be differences in metabolic rate. Devlin et al measured the
resting metabolic rate of a group of 22 women of normal body weight
with bulimia nervosa and in 19 age, sex, and weight-matched control
subjects. Mean resting metabolic rate of patients was significantly
lower than that of controls. This data suggest that there is a
disturbance in energy regulation in bulimia nervosa. However, the
origins and role of this disturbance in the pathophysiology of bulimia
are unclear.

Bulimia is eight times more likely to occur in people who have
relatives with eating disorders. Parents of people with bulimia appear
to be more likely to have psychiatric disorders than people without
the disorder. Some experts believe that genetic factors may influence
more than half the variances in eating disorders. Several family and
twin studies suggest that bulimia nervosa runs in families. Women with
bulimic or anorexic female relatives are four to five times more
likely to...

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