Essay: Eating Disorders Encompass a Wide Range

Pages: 3 (831 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Psychology  ·  Buy This Paper

Eating disorders encompass a wide range of complex behavioral and cognitive patterns. Resembling addictions in many respects, eating disorders are also difficult to treat. Multiple approaches to the study and treatment of eating disorders may help clinicians and counselors address the needs of individual patients. Biological psychology, social psychology, and developmental psychology each present unique perspectives about the causes of and treatment interventions used for eating disorders.

Biological psychology posits a neurological, neurophysiological, or genetic component to eating disorders. The Biological psychological approach would pose research questions about eating disorders as follows. First, what can genetic science tell psychologists about the etiology and hence, treatment, of eating disorders? Research using monozygotic (identical) twins would be a method that helps lend insight into the genetic components of eating disorders. Do some eating disorders like compulsive overeating reveal a stronger genetic component than others, like anorexia? If so, research into the genetic component of eating disorders could help narrow related research. Researchers would examine any family history of eating disorders as a method of determining genetic etiology and to discover whether or not different eating disorders may occur within the same family. Second, biological psychologists might ask whether eating disorders are caused by imbalances in brain chemistry, imbalances in brain hormones, or structural abnormalities in the brain. Methods used to test a neurological dimension of eating disorders vary but include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and other technologies. Psychopharmaceuticals would be offered as a treatment intervention. Third, biological psychologists may also investigate the role of diet and nutrition in the development of eating disorders. Methods used to examine how dietary factors influence the development of eating disorders would track the food intakes of patients with eating disorders vs. A control group, or might ask an experimental group to change their diets to observe any noticeable changes in behavior. Finally, biological approaches might examine comorbidity among eating disordered populations to see whether the same variables are implicated in populations with clinical depression, addictions, or other illnesses that manifest in conjunction with the eating disorder. The biological approach to eating disorders is promising but does neglect the powerful emotional, psychological and sociological components of the disease.

Social psychological approaches to eating disorders emphasize the individual's upbringing and current social environment, including familial, romantic, and peer ties. Those social interactions combine with personality psychology to create a matrix of issues that may influence the development and treatment of eating disorders. Research questions posed by social psychologists related to eating disorders include… [END OF PREVIEW]

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