Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Perception of anorexia differs

This article out of UNC Chapel Hill just published today explains how the perception of anorexia nervosa can differ when people are given information about the biological and possible genetic causation of the disorder. Researchers, led by Cynthia Bulik et. al, (if you keep up with research, she was one of the first people to give the now common "gun" analogy in reference to eating disorders, i.e. "the genes load the gun, the environment pulls the trigger") found that undergraduate nursing students who were given information on the genetic and biological causes of the development of anorexia versus those only given the sociocultural reasons did indeed give less blame to the eating disorder individual.

I think this definitely points out the need for continued education and awareness. This, of course, doesn't mean that one should blame everything on genetics or biology, but just that there is a predisposition. After that, there is some personal responsibility into how to live and cope with your life. In general, however, society still stigmatizes those with eating disorders in thinking it is completely their fault, they chose this, that they only want to be thin, etc. There's just so much more to it, and underneath all that stereotypical thinking are the real reasons.

Something else I think would be interesting is to see whether there would be any differences in brain and/or genetics between those anorexics who are deemed "chronic"and those who do not have a long duration of the illness and recover.