Media Coverage

Why Is Anorexia a 'Metabo-Psychiatric' Illness?

May 15, 2023
This article from Giddy, a follow up from an earlier genetics and eating disorders piece, features Dr. Harry Brandt and discusses what a metabo-psychiatric illness is, and how this applies to anorexia.

Read the Full Article from Giddy

Eating disorders are known as one of the United States' most prevalent mental health conditions. But recent research suggests they may have both psychiatric and biological underpinnings, some of which are genetic.

In the first part of this story, we began discussing what has been uncovered following years of genetic studies. Now, we'll get into why eating disorders are now considered "metabo-psychiatric" illnesses, and what that means for treatment and prevention.

Research into anorexia nervosa

"At this point, our most important finding is that anorexia nervosa appears to have both psychiatric and metabolic underpinnings," said Cynthia Bulik, Ph.D., founding director of the Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill. "We showed this by correlating the genetic profile of anorexia with hundreds of other traits."

Anorexia nervosa, according to the research, was highly positively genetically correlated with the following conditions:

  • OCD [obsessive compulsive disorder]
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Schizophrenia


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