An Eating Disorder Doesn’t Come out of Nowhere

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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Anorexia Nervosa

This paper loops and wanders through five different journals about anorexia nervosa and the many components within it. Each author of these scholarly journals pinpoints something different about the condition, whether it be the many causes or ways to cope with the condition. The main point of this report is to talk about anorexia nervosa and explain the causes as well as treatments and identifying the illness. This paper will go through what this condition is, what causes it, and what kinds of treatments have been known to work.

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For example, a treatment method brought up by Adamson, Ozenc, Baillie, and Tchanturia (2019) called the CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is tested and used as a therapeutic treatment that will be discussed. As for causes, there are many that this disorder can sprout from, whether it’s slowly over time or in adolescence. Causes and effects of this eating disorder are spelled out by first defining the condition and then delving into the science behind it, as well as the nature behind it. There are many aspects to this eating disorder that will be brought into discussion.

The In’s and Out’s of Anorexia Nervosa

There have been countless studies on people with AN (anorexia nervosa) both directly and indirectly. Pauli, Aebi, Metzke, and Steinhausen (2017), for example, directly conducted a questionnaire with a specific goal and managed to succeed. Indirectly, patient behavior is closely monitored. While monitoring, professionals try to find what may be the root cause of this disorder for each individual, as well as ways to treat it. AN isn’t scary to people for no reason. While Gorwood and colleagues (2016) go into many possible causes, dealing with the scientific side of things and many other claims and cases as well. The other four articles have different insights and are more specific with their chosen topic of discussion.

There is mention of motivation, therapy, sudden death and more. The amount of motivation someone has determines their overall well-being and how much help they need (Pauli et al., 2017). Therapy has been automatically proven to be helpful in many cases of anorexia nervosa and continues to this day, according to Adamson and colleagues (2019). Sudden death is, unfortunately, more tied to this condition than has been imagined. This paper is going to further research and explain the many aspects, causes, and possible treatments of anorexia nervosa.

Causes and Effects of Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is determined to be an eating disorder that inflicts an altered state of mind as well as a major physical implication on someones day to day life (Gorwood et al., 2016). This condition entails eating little to no food in fear of putting on weight, a sort of drive for a thin body shape that never gets to a stopping point (Gorwood et al., 2016). To go along with this, it also brings on a strong need for extreme exercise, even though the body physically is not getting enough nutrients from food to help retain and absorb this physical activity healthily (Gorwood et al., 2016). This is why it is important to know the signs of someone who could be suffering. There is no time like the present to learn to identify someone who may have anorexia nervosa in order to get them help.

There isn’t one underlying cause of this disorder, but it definitely doesn’t just come out of nowhere. For some people it is how they cope, others it’s solely about body image (Pauli et al., 2017). Whatever the personal cause may be, all are equally related to AN. It also doesn’t help that some people refuse to receive help early on. According to Treasure and Russell (2011), if there is a patient that has neglected seeking treatment and his/her condition worsens, that individual may experience loss of tight family relationships and they will begin secluding themselves. This strain of losing family, as well as being hard on themselves physically, takes a toll psychologically.

Another possible cause of AN that has been studied is a defect of the hypothalamus. In terms of attitude and emotion, the hypothalamus is the most important regulating component in the body system (Gorwood et al., 2016). The behavioral aspects of craving food and wanting to eat and then eating are products of this region of the brain (Gorwood et al., 2016). On the pleasure side of eating, the absence of the dopamine-striatal system hinders an individual with AN from enjoying food, therefore causing them to eventually starve themselves (Gorwood et al., 2016). These studies ignore the emotional side of having anorexia nervosa, but someone skeptical may be persuaded this way to spread awareness.

Countless studies have been conducted on whether or not mothers who were anorexic when they were pregnant pass the risk that their child will also have an eating disorder growing up; most of these studies deemed true and have endangered the lives of many infants (Gorwood et al., 2016). Effects of the mother giving birth while anorexic include the birth weight being extremely low, negative food tendencies while coming into maturity, and the mother’s own eating/behavioral tendencies could also have an effect as well (Gorwood et al., 2016). There is also evidence that the way the child will most likely eat on a ‘healthy’ diet along with their mother, including healthy food in very small portions (Gorwood et al., 2016). This just adds to the fact that there are many ways to become anorexic.

Speaking of parents, the effects of their child’s condition weighs on them too. They think that because they are going through this disorder that they are the reason for their child’s suffering (Treasure and Russell, 2011). At first, they resist getting help, then they ease into it and start blaming themselves; they believe they are the cause when that is far from the truth in most cases (Treasure and Russell, 2011). Then there is also the version where the parents get defensive, assuming they are being blamed and in trouble (Treasure and Russell, 2011). No matter which way the parents are involved, they are affected.

Besides the causes, the effects can be just as scary. Death, for example, is something many people are afraid of–especially when it’s sudden. Although oftentimes the autopsy does not give a solid answer as to what the main cause of death was, cardiac failure seems to be a popular word in sudden death situations (Jáuregui-Lobera & Jã¡uregui-Garrido, 2012). This basically means that most sudden deaths caused by eating disorders are from cardiovascular implications. This is why it is especially important to take notice and take action when someone with an eating disorder has heart problems– it could mean sudden death (Jáuregui-Lobera & Jã¡uregui-Garrido, 2012).

Treatments for Anorexia Nervosa

There are a few treatments that have surfaced over the years for anorexia nervosa. The first topic being discussed, however, is a way to detect whether someone may need treatment in the first place. Pauli and colleagues (2017) explained that depending on the patient’s motivation, the treatment will adjust accordingly to the needs of that particular individual. This is how they asses treatment and care. With the help of their questionnaire called ANSOCQ, they were able to conclude just how big of a role motivation, feelings, and self-image play in having or not having this disorder (Pauli et al., 2017). The ANSOCQ turned out to be one of the handiest ways to address the disorder and learn its ways so that future analysis and treatment can be applied to an individual who needs it ( Pauli et al., 2017).

A group of 119 females diagnosed with AN were brought into a program to help them improve their condition and to be evaluated (Adamson et al., 2019) The program was a type of therapy called CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) to test self-esteem (Adamson et al., 2019). Self-esteem was the number one focus of this kind of treatment and it had major life-changing results (Adamson et al., 2019). The girls were in 5-6 weekly sessions, and they had to fill out questionnaires at the beginning and end of each session (Adamson et al., 2019). Gradually there was light in the tunnel that none of the girls saw coming. Not only did this study/therapy improve the patients’ self-image but also their belief in themselves to get better and live an improved life (Adamson et al., 2019). This study is a way of bringing therapy into a new light. Showing it as nothing but an opportunity for people to grow within themselves, be vulnerable and free for once.

Among the other helpful treatments, catching AN early can be just as helpful. There are no convincing studies on this idea yet, but if a child has early digestive and eating problems there is a strong reason to pay close attention to watch can occur out of it (Gorwood et al. 2016). The ways to really detect signs are if the child is refusing food and throwing up once it is ingested (Gorwood et al. 2016). This could also lead to intestinal issues not allowing food to enter the body once it has gone too long without nutrients; this could also be commonly labeled as being “picky” (Gorwood et al. 2016). All of this is quite general, but whether it is anorexia nervosa or not, these are signs of serious eating disorders and should not be taken lightly.


Anorexia nervosa is a well-known eating disorder that can affect between .9% and .2% of females and .1%-.3% of males (Gorwood et al. 2016). It is a condition that induces painful urges to purge, exercise and lose weight that these people don’t even have with AN. There is no reason this disorder shouldn’t get half the attention it needs from the world and more. It is a serious and life-threatening devil that has no mercy on victims. As previously mentioned, there are numerous possible causes to how this may become a person’s life. It may be childhood, it may be adulthood. It can stem from especially low self-esteem, or it may even come from being born from an anorexic mother.

To go along with causes there can be massive effects on important things such as family relationships. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel for any patient who seeks the help they have access to. Whether it is by going to therapy or leaving home completely, they can slowly become the healthy person they were always meant to be.


  1. Adamson, J., Ozenc, C., Baillie, C., & Tchanturia, K. (2019). Self-esteem group: Useful intervention for inpatients with anorexia nervosa? Brain Sciences, 9(1), 12. doi: 10.3390/brainsci9010012
  2. Gorwood, P., Blanchet-Collet, C., Chartrel, N., Duclos, J., Dechelotte, P., Hanachi, M., … Epelbaum, J. (2016). New insights in anorexia nervosa. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 10. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2016.00256
  3. Jáuregui-Lobera, I., & Jã¡uregui-Garrido, B. (2012). Sudden death in eating disorders. Vascular Health and Risk Management, 91. doi: 10.2147/vhrm.s28652
  4. Pauli, D., Aebi, M., Metzke, C. W., & Steinhausen, H.-C. (2017). Motivation to change, coping, and self-esteem in adolescent anorexia nervosa: a validation study of the anorexia nervosa stages of change questionnaire (ANSOCQ). Journal of Eating Disorders, 5(1). doi: 10.1186/s40337-016-0125-z
  5. Treasure, J., & Russell, G. (2011). Early intervention in anorexia nervosa. British Journal of Psychiatry, 199(5), 432–432. doi: 10.1192/bjp.199.5.432a
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An Eating Disorder Doesn’t Come Out of Nowhere. (2021, Nov 21). Retrieved from