Psychology - Biological Explanation of Eating Disorders Essay

Words: 996
Pages: 4

Psychology Essay
The biological approach suggests that AN is due a physical cause, suggesting it could be due to something within the body or brain; such as hypothalamus dysfunction or an imbalance of neurotransmitters.
The hypothalamus dysfunction theory would suggest that animals have a “set weight” which is correct for their body, if this weight should increase or decrease then the body should make adjustments to regulate food intake to their “set weight”.
The hypothalamus is thought to have quite a lot of control over our eating behaviour, the lateral hypothalamus (LH) is considered to be the feeding switch that makes an individual begin to feed whereas the ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) is the satiety switch that makes an
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Bailer’s research also raises the debate of determinism vs. free will. The biological approach is deterministic so if an individual has an imbalance of serotonin they will then develop an eating disorder, however this is ignoring our free will as an individual that exercises regularly will over their eating; this is noted in individuals who suffer from anxiety but don’t develop AN.
Finally there is the evolutionary approach which suggests that all our behaviours are adaptive, which means that the reason we do certain things is to help us survive in a certain way; according to this theory AN is a behaviour which helps them survive.
The evolutionary approach focuses on our ancestors, when weight loss and eating disorders weren’t a consideration and any weight loss would be a lack of food rather than a desire for “thinness”. Usually when an individual begins to love weight physiological mechanisms activate in order to conserve energy and increase desires for food, however it would not have been adaptive for our ancestors to feel hunger as there may not have been much food available to them, so instead it would be adaptive to “switch off” the desire so that they could then find food; in order to help our survival. Therefore many characteristics of AN can be considered adaptive to enable our ancestors to