They discover that anorexia is not only in the brain

They discover that anorexia is not only in the brain

For many years, it has been thinking that the anorexia nervosa It originates exclusively in a psychological disorder. However, recent studies argue that this is not entirely true.


  • 1 Detect eight genetic mutations linked to the appearance of anorexia nervosa
  • 2 What are the causes of anorexia nervosa?
  • 3 Anorexia: a disease that can become chronic

They detect eight genetic mutations linked to the appearance of anorexia nervosa

According to an international study carried out only a few months ago, anorexia nervosa would not only have its roots in psychological causes, as has always been thought, but there are others genetic alterations that affect metabolism.

Such mutations would show that anorexia comes in part from a metabolic disorder, and is not purely a psychiatric disorder, as this suggests. international study carried out by more than 100 academics.

These findings were published in the scientific journal. Nature Genetics. These conclusions also seek to shed some light on the treatment of a disease that each year takes the lives of thousands of people every year, both men and women, although it is the latter who suffer in greater numbers.

People affected with anorexia are characterized by severe problems of body weight, this being abnormally low, as well as an excessive fear of gaining weight. Inevitably, these conditions will affect your health very negatively, causing nutritional deficiencies and hormonal imbalances.

With respect to eight genetic mutations which have been found in relation to the appearance of anorexia nervosa, these in turn are related to other psychiatric disorders, along with other metabolic or endocrine disorders.

Thanks to the data collected by the Nervous Anorexia Genetics Initiative and the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, thousands of cases and controls of anorexia nervosa have been analyzed internationally.

Thus, there are certain traits and metabolic and anthropometric conditions that affect the genetic basis of anorexia nervosa. In addition, there is also a close relationship with other disorders: anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

What are the causes of anorexia nervosa?

Therefore, and although until a few months ago it was thought that anorexia nervosa had its origin in purely psychological issues derived from psychiatric disorders, this recent international research has determined that genetic components can be equally important.

But, at the same time, we must not forget that other psychological disorders can lead to anorexia nervosa, and not be merely other symptoms derived from it.

Therefore, patients with reduced self-esteem, anxiety problems or tendency to episodes of depression, can be affected by eating disorders and lead to anorexia.

Mainly in very young people, who have not yet developed and have problems with self-esteem or to interact with others. It is in these cases that special attention must be paid to any minimal change in behavior.

In Spain, the vast majority of people with anorexia nervosa (around 75% of the affected population), are boys and girls as young as 12 to 14 years old. It is undoubtedly an already very problematic and conflictive stage, in which many young people are still very vulnerable to the opinions of third parties.

Unfortunately, false but widespread beliefs about perfection make too much dent at very deep levels about women and men, thus leading to psychological disorders, as a result of an obsession to always be perfect (something totally impossible).

Anorexia: a disease that can become chronic

In the same way, the statistics only confirm how difficult it is to get out of a disease with a psychiatric background such as anorexia nervosa. Many patients relapse again and again despite continuing treatment.

Therefore, many of them continue to cohabit with the disease, which has already become a chronic disorder. There may be better or worse streaks, in which the patient has a better mood and health. But anorexia is still there.

The support of family and loved ones It thus becomes an indispensable basis for dealing with each stage of the disease, which in most cases can extend for much longer than expected.

Following the latest conclusions drawn from the international study carried out this past year, it is expected that new solutions or approaches may appear to help alleviate the effects of anorexia and achieve more effective treatments.

Only after a holistic approach, in which no factor that could affect the success of the treatment is left to chance, and always under the prism of understanding and attention at all times, can we provide all those people with anorexia of all the Help they need.


Hunna J. Watson, Zeynep Yilmaz, ... Cynthia M. Bulik. Genome-wide association study identifies eight risk loci and involves metabo-psychiatric origins for anorexia nervosa. //

Keski-Rahkonen, A. and Mustelin, L. EPediology of eating disorders in Europe: prevalence, incidence, comorbidity, course, consequences and risk factors. Curr. Opin. Psychiatry 29, 340-345 (2016).