Eating disorders have become a menace among millions of people inthe world. In the population, some individuals have been diagnosedwith various phenotypes of eating disorders. The phenotypes includeanorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and eatingdisorder otherwise not specified (Blodgett Salafia et al., 2015). Theaffliction is also a brain disorder whose etiology is not yetunderstood. Stress has been attributed to be a major player in thedevelopment of eating disorders.
It has been hypothesized that stress causes maladaptive alterationsin the neurobiology that regulates the feeding system. The scientistshave been undertaking experiments using animal models to explain theneurobiology of stress and eating disorders. Stress is described toinvolve both physical and psychological events, and it can play arole in facilitating rewarding and punishing outcomes that wouldresult in adaptive and maladaptive behavior (Hardaway et al., 2015).Stress has been shown to lead to maladaptive behaviors in theneuronal circuitry that is involved in the development of the eatingdisorder. The etiology of eating disorder is unknown, but acutestressors have been shown to have a negative effect and increase therisk of disordered eating.
Stress can increase or decrease caloric intake thus promoting eitherobesity or anorexia within specific dietary environments (Ulrich-Laiet al., 2015). Stress can induce the activation of the neuroendocrinehypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis which increases theglucocorticoid synthesis and glucose availability for the behavioralstress responses. Stress can lead to alterations which will affectthe HPA axis will affect the food intake and energy balance.Glucocorticoids regulate appetite, food intake, body weight gain,accumulation and storage of body fat.
The effects that stress can bring about in the body can be dampenedor buffered by regular exercising. Exercise is a planned andrepetitive form of physical activity whose objective is to improve ormaintain physical fitness. It has been shown to result in fewerstress symptoms which include anxiety, depression and stress eating.It is fascinating that stress can be reduced and furthermore, theimpacts it has can be dampened. Eating disorders can be prevented orcan be controlled to ensure that they do not develop to states wherethey can cause adverse effects on the health of the individual.
Salafia, E. H. B., Jones, M. E., Haugen, E. C., & Schaefer, M. K.(2015). Perceptions of the causes of eating disorders: a comparisonof individuals with and without eating disorders. Journal ofeating disorders, 3(1), 1.
Hardaway, J. Crowley, N. A., Bulik, C. M., & Kash, T. L. (2015).Integrated circuits and molecular components for stress and feeding:implications for eating disorders. Genes, Brain and Behavior,14(1), 85-97.
Ulrich-Lai,Y. M., Fulton, S., Wilson, M., Petrovich, G., & Rinaman, L.(2015). Stress exposure,
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