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Running head: ANOREXIA NERVOSA 1

Anorexia Nervosa







Anorexia Nervosa is currently one of the major psychological challenges faced by the

young population. The question however remains what are the causes of the fear, and how can

the same be identified and prevented at an early stage? As observed by most medical

practitioners in this area, the condition and its detection still remains a challenge, as victims

confuse it with dieting. Anorexia Nervosa is a condition characterized by intense fear of gaining

weight, restricted eating, energy intake and subsequent weight loss. Despite confusion with

dieting, this is a psychological problem which continues to bite many unknowingly. According

to Australian National Eating Disorders Collaboration, eating disorders now affect an estimated

nine percent of the Australian population and it’s estimated that the numbers have increased

worldwide in the last three decades.

Biopsychosocial Basis of Anorexia Nervosa

As a generality of the foregoing, biological, psychological and social factors have been

identified to play a tremendous role in the overall wellbeing of a human being, and in particular

as far as health is concerned. These factors range from behaviors, economic incomes, the

environments, thoughts as well as emotions. These factors if not put into perspective and their

roles in the context of an illness, then understanding the condition may not be possible. With

rising number of people who suffer from the mental disorders, it’s estimated that over thirty

million people worldwide are suffering from this condition. As a psychological problem, the

victims herein cannot maintain their body weight above their body-mass-index (BMI). Added to

this is the widespread fear of gaining an extra pound and what other people will think, even

where the individual’s weight is at normal level. People with these eating disorders have been

identified to have high levels of cortisol, and lower levels of serotonin and norepinephrine (Frank

et al., 2012). The former is a stress hormone, whereas the latter is a feel good hormone

responsible for regulating how the body feels. As biological factors, lower levels of serotonin

and norepinephrine results into depression and the disorders are some of the ways through which

they help themselves. Closely related to the depression is the social view on certain aspects of

standards set for beauty, and what their perception of the same is. This explains why some

celebrities have been on the spotlight for having they condition, as that’s what the society

expects of them. On the other hand, psychological factors such as feelings of loneliness,

unworthiness insecurity and stress resulting from the desire to become a perfectionist are some of

the contributing factors. Anorexia Nervosa is therefore caused by several factors which become

intertwined thus leading to the condition (MacSween & MacSween, 2013).

Intervention strategies and Implementation

Most of the causes discussed herein above have laid down biopsychosocial factors as the

leading causes of anorexia. Other factors can be lack of proper awareness, and therefore,

psychologists suggests the earliest move in addressing the problem is creating awareness and

making the people aware of their condition. For this school going children, they should be meant

to understand the possible psychological disorder they are developing, its consequences and the

need for early intervention. Changing the environment to avert the intervening psychological

stress for the school going children should be undertaken. An early therapeutic intervention

which alters the patterns of the dysfunctional behaviors has been advanced as one of the ways

through which the disorder can be treated (Lock & Grange, 2015).


While implementing these strategies, caregivers and parents can create an environment

which is free from all the above discussed factors. This would help reduce the intervening stress

and decline in morale and self-confidence. Parents and care givers are equally some of the best

counselors who can interact with the children, and thus counseling is one of the implementation

strategies to be adopted. Having a positive talk about food and informing the victims of their

importance in the family is an important strategy to be adopted in implementation.

Legal and Ethical Considerations

Ethical and legal issues prove thorny when it comes to the treatment and intervention of

these disorders, and in particular when treating Anorexia Nervosa. Coerced feeding and

compulsory detention are some of the issues which must be put into perspective. Parents must

understand the borderlines of their actions in the intervention process, and the legal requirements

under the Australian Mental health Act. This is based on the fact that certain intervention

methods and strategies can be infringing on the victim’s personal freedom and the same must be

adequately put into perspective (Carney, 2014).



Carney, T. (2014). The incredible complexity of being? Degrees of influence, coercion, and

control of the “autonomy” of severe and enduring anorexia nervosa patients. Journal of

bioethical inquiry, 11(1), 41-42.

Frank, G. K., Reynolds, J. R., Shott, M. E., Jappe, L., Yang, T. T., Tregellas, J. R., & O'reilly, R.

C. (2012). Anorexia nervosa and obesity are associated with opposite brain reward

response. Neuropsychopharmacology, 37(9), 2031.

MacSween, M., & Macsween, M. (2013). Anorexic bodies: A feminist and sociological

perspective on anorexia nervosa. Routledge.

Lock, J., & Le Grange, D. (2015). Treatment manual for anorexia nervosa: A family-based

approach. Guilford Publications.