How Body Image and Biochemistry Lead to Anorexia
The idealization of thinness has resulted in a distorted body image and unrealistic measures of beauty and success. Cultural and media influences -- such as TV, magazines, and movies -- reinforce the belief that women should be more concerned with their appearance than with their own ideas or achievements.
Body dissatisfaction, feelings of fatness, and a drive for thinness have led many women to become overly concerned about their appearance. Research has shown that many normal-weight and even underweight girls are dissatisfied with their body and are choosing inappropriate behaviors to control their appetite and food intake. The American Association of University Women found that adolescent girls believe that physical appearance is a major part of their self-esteem and that their body image is a major part of their sense of self.
Recent studies have revealed a connection between biological factors associated with clinical depression and the development of anorexia nervosa. Stress hormones, such as cortisol, are elevated in those with anorexia, while neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, may not function correctly. Research continues to better understand this relationship.