Anorexia nervosa is a severe psychiatric illness with high mortality. Brain imaging research has indicated altered reward circuits in the disorder. Here we propose a disease model for anorexia nervosa, supported by recent studies, that integrates psychological and biological factors. In that model, we propose that there is a conflict between the conscious motivation to restrict food, and a body-homeostasis driven motivation to approach food in response to weight loss. These opposing motivations trigger anxiety, which maintains the vicious cycle of ongoing energy restriction and weight loss.
Keywords: Anorexia nervosa; Anxiety; Brain; Conflict; Motivation.
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