Psychology - Biological Explanation of Eating Disorders

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 446
  • Published : March 20, 2013
Open Document
Text Preview
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 individual stop feeding. Garfinkel and Gardner (1982) suggested that a disturbed hypothalamus may be the cause of AN, they proposed that any disturbance could lead to either the LH or VMH to be constantly activated. In order to explain AN it is most likely that when the LH is damaged and that the individual never receives a signal (feeling hungry) to begin feeding, if the VMH were damaged then the individual would receive a constant signal to eat so they would never stop feeding. This supports the idea that AN might have a biological explanation, specifically brain dysfunction. Anand and Brobeck conducted an experiment involving the rats, they found that if the LH was damaged it could lead to aphagia (this is a failure to eat when hungry), this provides support for the idea that damage to the hypothalamus can lead to reduced eating which is support for the biological approach of AN. However, there are some concerns with this as the test was conducted with the use of animals so it’s hard to generalise the findings to humans. This is because humans and animals are biologically different so it’s hard to know if humans would respond in the same way if their LH was damaged. Additional research has shown us that when the VMH in rats is...
tracking img