Recently, I’ve been posting about dopamine and addictions. Since dopamine is a “feel good” neurotransmitter, and has connections to food addiction, I’ve been wondering what it has to do with anorexia.
Research on eating disorders is really in its infancy. But there seem to be connections to dopamine. Apparently, people who suffer from anorexia have an unusual reaction to this substance. When dopamine flows in their brains, instead of feeling pleasure, they feel anxiety and fear.
Not only do anorexics feel anxiety when they eat, they feel anxiety and worry about other things as well. Some of their fears are similar to what happens in the brains of people suffering from obsessive/compulsive disorder. The lives of anorexics are unpleasant and scary, to say the least.
There are so many myths about anorexia, it’s a relief to realize that anorexia is very much a product of the anorexic’s brain chemistry. But there is clearly a great deal more to be learned about eating disorders in general and anorexia in particular.