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Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2018 Jul 23;20(8):61. doi: 10.1007/s11920-018-0928-5.

The Role of Habits in Anorexia Nervosa: Where We Are and Where to Go From Here?

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY, USA. blair.uniacke@nyspi.columbia.edu.
2
Department of Psychiatry, New York State Psychiatric Institute, 1051 Riverside Drive, Unit 98, New York, NY, 10032, USA. blair.uniacke@nyspi.columbia.edu.
3
Department of Psychiatry, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, NY, USA.
4
Department of Psychiatry, New York State Psychiatric Institute, 1051 Riverside Drive, Unit 98, New York, NY, 10032, USA.

Abstract

PURPOSE OF REVIEW:

The persistent maladaptive eating behavior characteristic of anorexia nervosa (AN) can be understood as a learned habit. This review describes the cognitive neuroscience background and the existing data from research in AN.

RECENT FINDINGS:

Behavior is habitual after it is frequently repeated and becomes nearly automatic, relatively insensitive to outcome, and mediated by dorsal frontostriatal neural systems. There is evidence for such behavior in AN, in which restrictive intake has been related to dorsal frontostriatal systems. Other neural and neurocognitive data provide mixed findings, some of which suggest disturbances in habit systems in AN. There are compelling behavioral and neural data to suggest that habit systems may underlie the persistence of AN. The habit model needs further research, via more direct behavioral hypothesis testing and probes of the development of habitual behavior. Investigation of the habit-centered model of AN may open avenues for the development of novel treatments.

KEYWORDS:

Anorexia nervosa; Cognitive neuroscience; Eating disorders; Frontostriatal; Habit; Reward

PMID:
30039342
PMCID:
PMC6550313
DOI:
10.1007/s11920-018-0928-5
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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