Scientific Understanding of Eating Disorders

Simona Giordano

in Understanding Eating Disorders

Published in print August 2005 | ISBN: 9780199269747
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603129 | DOI:

Series: Issues in Biomedical Ethics

 Scientific Understanding of Eating Disorders

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This chapter explores the organic basis of eating disorders, and discusses whether eating disorders are a form of addiction. Gene variations seem to be involved in both anorexia and bulimia nervosa. However, it is unclear what these variations are and how they may interact with environmental stressors to determine the onset of the disorders. Moreover, though there is clear evidence that physiological abnormalities are linked to eating disorders, variations are generally corrected as abnormal eating patterns are abandoned. The relationship between these abnormalities and the onset of eating disorders is thus unclear. This has important ethical implications: it cannot be claimed that eating disorders are caused by organic causes, or that organic dysfunctions diminish the sufferers’ autonomy.

Keywords: genetics; eating disorders; addiction model; starvation; addiction; central nervous system; neurotransmitters; hypothalamic abnormalities; ethical implications

Chapter.  8158 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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