Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia

Reference work entry


Eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, have long been recognized in psychiatry and other medical disciplines for their primary dysregulation in the basic ability to eat and inability to maintain weight without significant distress or dysregulation. Although the diagnostic criteria of these disorders have been debated over time, the core feature remain as (1) disturbances in the ability to maintain a healthy weight, (2) recurrent binge-eating or compensatory behavior, and (3) significant disturbances in the investment and perceptions of shape, weight, or appearance. The neurobiology of these disorders has been aided greatly by the study of eating behavior and weight regulation designed to study obesity. This chapter summarizes the current state of knowledge about the genetic, hormonal, neurotransmitter, and functional neurocircuitry of these disorders. Emerging evidence suggests that appetite hormones and peptides, adrenal hormones, ovarian hormones, and serotonin and dopamine are dysregulated in both disorders. Despite these advances, no neurobiological model has been able to explain the differences in prevalence rates between men and women or the common occurrence of expression during puberty. It is likely that relevant hormonal systems and neurotransmitter changes are working synergistically to affect these disorders. Future directions in translational and clinical research are discussed.


Anorexia Nervosa Anterior Cingulate Cortex Eating Disorder Binge Eating Bulimia Nervosa 
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Further Reading

  1. Bailer UF, Frank GK, Henry SE, Price JC, Meltzer CC, Mathis CA et al (2007) Exaggerated 5-HT1A but normal 5-HT2A receptor activity in individuals ill with anorexia nervosa. Biol Psychiatry 61:1090–1099PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  8. Pinheiro AP, Bulik CM, Thornton LM, Sullivan PF, Root TL, Bloss CS et al (2010) Association study of 182 candidate genes in anorexia nervosa. Am J Med Genet B Neuropsychiatr Genet 153B:1070–1080PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.PsychiatryMount Sinai School of MedicineNew YorkUSA

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