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Similarly to OCD, no "precise causes of anorexia nervosa are" known ; however, on the flip side, researchers assume that the etiologies of this diagnosis are "combination of genetic and environmental factors" (Mental Illnesses - Anorexia Nervosa).

Biological:
    • One of the causes can be "genetic predisposition to anorexia" running in families, particularly when one family member has the diagnosis (Smith and Segal). The possibility of a family member being diagnosed of anorexia nervosa is "over 10 times more likely than" the public population (Mental Illnesses - Anorexia Nervosa).
    • Another cause is unbalanced levels of hormones cortisol (deals primarily with stress) and neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine ("are associated with feelings of well-being") (Smith and Segal). Often times people diagnosed of anorexia nervosa are found with high level of hormone cortisol and low level of serotonin and norepinephrine. This reflects the way diagnosed people use food as a way to cope with high stress level indicated by the amount of cortisol and "negative emotions" (Eating Disorders) since the majority have low positive feelings or serotonin and norepinephrine. Vasopressin is also another brain chemical that was "found to be abnormal in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder" (Mental Illnesses - Anorexia Nervosa).
Cognitive:
    • A particular cognitive cause to anorexia nervosa can be explained through the body-image distortion hypothesis by Bruch. This hypothesis states that the majority of the people diagnosed of eating disorder "suffer from the delusion that they are fat" the whole time (Crane and Hannibal). While there is danger behind overestimation of their body size, further research studies by Slade and Brodie showed that they are "uncertain about the size and shape of their own body" (Crane and Hannibal). This leads their judgment on their body appearance to the negative side with high level of cortisol intertwining.
    • The differences in body perception among gender may also be the cause, particularly for females. When Fallon and Rozin conducted an experiment with undergraduate U.S. students to select "the figure that looked most like their own shape, their ideal figure, and the figure they thought would be most attractive to the opposite sex", most males chose similar figures for all the three selections (Crane and Hannibal). On the other hand, most females chose "much thinner [body figures] than the shape…[that represents] their own" (Crane and Hannibal).
    • There is also a role of cognitive disinhibition, which is basically "an all-or-nothing approach to judging oneself" (Crane and Hannibal). Person diagnosed of anorexia may only have "rigid, 'black or white' thinking" about their body figures, which can lead to judgments such as: "being fat is bad" and 'being thin is good" (Eating Disorders).

Sociocultural:
    • The most strong sociocultural cause is the "cultural norms of attractiveness as promoted by magazines and popular culture" (Eating Disorders). This include models, actors or actresses, celebrities, singers, or even others that one admires. Because those people are famous and popular within the culture, this creates misinterpreted conception of attractiveness to the opposite sex, that being skinny or thin in this case is good and attractive.
    • Another strongest cause may be "family and social pressures [which] includes participation in an activity that demands slenderness, such as ballet, gymnastics, or modeling" (Smith and Segal) and the parents' harsh, over-control on children's expression of emotion and critic about the appearance and look of their child, causing "pressure to be thin" (Eating Disorders).


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<Works Cited>
Crane, John, and Jette Hannibal. IB Diploma Programme: Psychology Course Companion. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. Print.
"Eating Disorders." Mental Health America. Mental Health America. Web. 27 Feb. 2012. <http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/go/eating-disorders>.
"Eating Disorders." NIMH · What Is Being Done to Better Understand and Treat Eating Disorders? National Institute of Mental Health. Web. 27 Feb. 2012. <http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/eating-disorders/what-is-being-done-to-better-understand-and-treat-eating-disorders.shtml>.



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