What Causes Eating Disorders?

It’s not easy to answer the question of how eating disorders develop. There are a myriad of circumstances that can lead to the development of these complex conditions, which generally involve some emotional or mental problem.

NationalEatingDisorders.org is one of the largest organizations in the US, focusing on the education and treatment of individuals and families affected by eating disorders. They launched in 2001 when the 2 largest and oldest eating disorder organizations in the world merged. The American Anorexia Bulimia Association (AABA) teamed up with Eating Disorders Awareness & Prevention (EDAP) to improve global awareness of this serious problem.

That organization points out that there can be behavioral, psychological, social, biological, emotional, and even intrapersonal factors that lead to the cause of an eating disorder. They also mention that scientists and nutrition experts are still working to fully understand the causes of the common eating disorders we mentioned in our last section.

In many cases, as with Anorexia Athletica and Bigorexia / Muscle Dysmorphia, dangerous eating habits might form because of a body weight and image issue. Some others suffering from a wide range of painful emotional issues may turn to food as a way to treat those problems.

As you can see, there are diverse mental, physical and emotional factors that can contribute to complex eating disorders. This is what makes treatment by a professional so important. Experts with years of hands-on experience identifying the real underlying cause for a specific eating problem can help you treat it in the most efficient manner.

A few social factors, which may lead to eating disorders if you are not careful, include:

• Attending frequent parties were food is in abundance
• Constant social pressure online and off to be a certain weight and size.
• The current societal idea, used to sell a long list of products, that super-thin is healthy
• Socializing with others who have eating disorders, or are extremely over/underweight

Of course, in some cases your personal biology can lead to an eating problem. While doctors now understand that your nutritional choices are responsible for up to 75% of your physical makeup, your family tree may lead to an eating disorder in the following ways:

• Metabolism problems handed down through your genes
• A history of eating disorders in your family (some doctors believe this is as much a social cause as it is biological)
• Problems with brain chemicals, which incorrectly tell you when you are hungry or full
• Digestive track issues

Psychological and emotional factors, which could possibly lead to eating disorders, include:

• Any uncontrolled emotion, including stress, loneliness, depression, a manic high and even anger
• Personal relationships, which lead to emotional problems
• Constantly being teased about your weight, size (for children’s and adults)
• Psychological issues stemming from physical or sexual abuse, usually as a child
• A feeling that you are “out of control”

Self-diagnosis might identify the problem causing your eating disorder area. But in every case, it makes sense to contact a professional for treatment.