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Bulimia Linked to Behavior Control


Researchers are not certain if it is good news or bad news for individuals, who suffer from bulimia to know that bulimia is linked to the area of the brain that controls behavior. Many times when a person suffers from a mental disorder such as bulimia they are prescribed anti-depressants or anti-psychotic medications. In certain mental disorders, particularly the eating disorder category the patients are reluctant to take the medication. By taking the medication, they feel they are losing their control of the bulimia. Eating disorders are not only about body image they are almost always emotional based (something happened or was said to create the poor body image.) Many of the patients who suffer from eating disorders also have control issues in this case if they were to take the medication they would be giving up their control.

Bulimia & The Brain

Doctors believe and have performed tests on women with bulimia to confirm their findings. The researchers used 40 women in the study 20 had bulimia and 20 did not. The researchers did an FMRI scan on each of the 40 women’s brains. The 20 women with bulimia showed that the frontostrital circuits (located in the part of the brain that control behavior) did not activate properly. While the 20 women without bulimia the FMRI showed that, the frontostrital circuits did activate properly.


The test results also showed that the women with bulimia were more impulsive and made more errors because they responded faster (impulsive) than the 20 women who did not have bulimia. For some women knowing there is a neurobiological cause for their bulimia may make them feel better about and improve their body image and they may be more likely to seek mental health therapy.