Anorexia Nervosa

NOT A DISEASE OF VANITY

Anorexia has long been viewed by the public as either a ‘choice’ or a disease of vanity. But we now know that the common stereotype is of a young woman who diets and exercises excessively as an attention seeking behavior is not accurate. Anorexia affects all ages, gender identifies, and ethnicities. Eating is a biological process just like breathing or drinking. For example, the brain can sense when your blood is low in oxygen and increase breathing or it can tell when you are dehydrated and increase your thirst. Hungry works in much the same way. When a person uses more energy than they are taking in by eating, they are in a negative energy state (also known as catabolism). Several hormones from the body signal negative energy states to the brain including leptin (a hormone produced in adipose tissue), insulin (a hormone secreted by the pancreas after meals), and ghrelin (an appetite stimulating hormone secreted by the stomach). When leptin and insulin levels are high and ghrelin levels are low, the body has enough energy stored and tells the brain to decrease your appetite. Conversely, when leptin and insulin levels are low and ghrelin is high, the brain senses a negative energy balance and responds by increasing appetite. This balance of appetite-stimulating and appetite-suppressing hormones is what normally keeps a person’s body weight fairly stable over time.

NOT A DISEASE OF VANITY

NOT A DISEASE OF VANITY

Anorexia has long been viewed by the public as either a ‘choice’ or a disease of vanity. But we now know that the common stereotype is of a young woman who diets and exercises excessively as an attention seeking behavior is not accurate

SPECIFIC IMPAIRMENT

SPECIFIC IMPAIRMENT

We now understand that patients with Anorexia have a specific impairment in their brain’s ability to sense negative energy states and appropriately increase their appetite and food intake.

specific impairment

We now understand that patients with Anorexia have a specific impairment in their brain’s ability to sense negative energy states and appropriately increase their appetite and food intake. Put in a different way, patients with Anorexia will feel that they are a normal weight or over weight even when they are severely malnourished. This conflict between mind and body creates many of the most impairing symptoms of Anorexia including anxiety, intrusive thoughts, body image distortions, and continued drive to lose weight. Patients with Anorexia do not choose not to eat in order to be thinner, their brains tell them that they are overweight and they constantly fight the feeling that they are doing something wrong by eating.

PRECISION PSYCHIATRY INC.

214-972-3853

michael.lutter@gmail.com