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Is there a biological basis to eating disorders?

March 12, 2018

It is thought that abnormalities in the brain’s serotonergic and dopaminergic neurotransmitter systems can play a role in both the cause and the continuation of eating disorders. Studies of both families and twins have suggested that genes predispose (make someone more liable to catch illnesses or undertake certain behaviours) to an eating disorder. Further genetic studies are currently taking place to attempt to identify the genes involved in the development of key eating disorders. Taking these studies in combination, they suggest that it’s possible that there is an inborn genetic vulnerability in at-risk individuals. Further, once such behaviours are in place, this can lead to biological changes that help sustain the behaviours of the eating disorder.

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