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Biopsychology ( brain function) - Essay Example

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Serotonin and Dopamine are Important Neurotransmitters in the Development of Anorexia Nervosa and Related Disorders. Noemi Meza National University Abstract Anorexia nervosa is an illness associated with reduced body mass, starvation, anxiety and many other varying symptoms…
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Biopsychology ( brain function)
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Download file to see previous pages Overall, the research supports an increase in levels of serotonin whilst a repression of dopamine, as well as abnormal sensitivities of the relevant receptors for these neurotransmitters. The purpose of this paper is to evaluate, using current literature, the role of these neurotransmitters in the development of AN, as well as looking at some of the current debates in biochemical research with relation to the disease. It will become evident that serotonin and dopamine are important biological contributors to the development and sustainment of AN. Serotonin and Dopamine are Important Neurotransmitters in the Development of Anorexia Nervosa and Related Disorders. Anorexia nervosa is one of the most important mental illnesses in psychology. It is the most common eating disorder, affecting up to 1% of women and 0.1% of men in some areas (Abraham, 2008). It is theorized to develop from a number of factors, including genetic and environmental (Abraham). However, one of the most important biochemical aspects of anorexia nervosa (AN) is that many sufferers share a common feature: serotonin and dopamine dysregulation (Abraham). This effect is so strong that serotonin and dopamine levels often continue to be abnormal after the individual with anorexia nervosa is seemingly recovered from their illness (Abraham). These important neurotransmitters play a role in reward and compulsion (predominantly dopamine) and anxiety and impulse control (predominantly serotonin), traits which are often linked to anorexia nervosa and a variety of other mental illnesses (Abraham). Serotonin and dopamine are, therefore, important neurotransmitters in the development of anorexia nervosa and related disorders. Serotonin is one of the most important neurotransmitters in the brain. Serotonin is a monoamine derived from tryptophan (Kalat, 2013), and has an important role in many aspects of mood and behavior (Abraham, 2008). One of the most important roles for serotonin is controlling appetite, where it has a role in regulation of blood sugar (Abraham). Additionally, it plays a role in letting the individual feel satiety (Kaye & Weltzin, 1991). Kaye & Weltzin showed, in their analysis of serotonin activity in eating disorders, that serotonin activity is much increase in patients with anorexia nervosa, and also plays a role in impulse control and obsessivity, two important aspects found in anorexia nervosa patients. Indeed, the fact that serotonin is derived from tryptophan is important because serotonin abnormalities (as well as increased or decreased sensitivity of serotonin receptors in the brain) can be caused by dietary abnormalities (Kaye & Weltzin), so this disturbance in patients with anorexia nervosa could be both cause and effect. Even in “healthy” individuals, serotonin levels in the brain are strongly influenced by diet (Kalat). Perhaps the biggest question in anorexia and eating disorder research is whether or not the effects shown on PET scans are a result of disordered eating or are the cause (Higgs, Cooper & Barnes, 2011). More specifically, serotonin dysregulation has been found in patients with AN, including especially high levels in areas of the brain with 5HT1A receptors. The 5HT1A receptor system is important in its implication in mood disorders, as it has been linked to anxiety and impulse control (Kalat, 2013). Additionally, Higgs et al (2011) have shown that stimulation of the 5HT1A receptors artificially works as an anoretic agent in mice, further ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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