Causes of Eating Disorders

Tue, Jan 5, 2010

Personal Development

EatingDisordersEating Disorders are very complex. Researchers don’t know exactly what causes Anorexia, Bulimia or Binge Eating, but concerns about weight and body shape play a role in all of them.  People from all walks of life suffer from eating disorders; educated, wealthy, heavy, thin, those who have many or few friends, those who had a stable background and those who didn’t have loving parents.

There are three influences; genetic, social and psychological.

Genetic Factors: Anorexia is eight times more common in people who have relatives with the disorder. Many researchers believe there is a genetic predisposition to having an eating disorder. Studies have demonstrated that over-eating among identical twins if greater than the co-occurrence among fraternal twins. This would support an inherited theory because identical twins are generally more similar than fraternal twins.

Researchers have found that the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine are significantly decreased in acutely ill patients suffering from Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa. These neurotransmitters also function abnormally in individuals afflicted with depression. This leads some researchers to believe there may be a link between these two disorders. Besides creating a sense of physical and emotional satisfaction, the neurotransmitter serotonin also produces the effect of feeling full and having had enough food.

Other brain chemicals have also been explored for their possible role in eating disorders. Individuals with eating disorders like Anorexia, Bulimia or Compulsive Overeating have been shown to have a higher than normal level of the hormones vasopressin and cortisol. Both these hormones are normally released in response to physical and possible emotional stress, and may contribute to some of the dysfunction seen in eating disordered individuals.

Researchers have identified specific chromosomes that may be associated with bulimia and anorexia.  In particular, regions on chromosome 10 have been linked to bulimia as well as obesity.

Sociological Factors: Our family, friends and society in general have a significant influence. The media here in the United States has a great impact on all of us.  Some researchers think that media images in movies, advertising and music video give a false idea of what attractiveness is and establishes these images as the ideal way to look which is impossible to achieve. We are shown what we should look like and taught that our happiness is dependent on it. We learn and accept what we’re surrounded with. You’ve heard the old adage garbage in garbage out unfortunately there is too much garbage going in to us in this culture.
Athletes including those involved in swimming, basketball, gymnastics, track, dance, cheerleading are more focused on their bodies. When in uniform, fewer clothes are worn and the athletes may be more susceptible to eating disorders.
Some researchers think that media images in movies, advertising and music video give a false idea of what attractiveness is and establishes these images as the ideal way to look which is impossible to achieve. Other issues like OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and anxiety may also be present in those with eating disorders.
Psychological Factors: Just as an alcoholic uses alcohol to deal with emotions, some people use food to deal with life’s experiences that seem overwhelming. Practicing the eating disorder may bring a sense of partial control over their seemingly uncontrollable life. Some underlying issues that are associated with an eating disorder include: low self esteem, depression, feelings of loss of control, feelings of worthlessness, identity concerns, family communication problems and an inability to cope with emotions.

It is interesting to figure out why someone has an eating disorder, knowing why can help us prevent it from happening in the future.  Everyone who suffers with such problems needs to realize, there is a way to heal. If you’d like individual help with this or other problems, put your name and email address to the right.  I’ll give you ½ hour free consultation.

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34 Responses to “Causes of Eating Disorders”

  1. Self Esteem Says:

    Thank you so much, there aren’t enough posts on this… or at least i cant find them. I am turning into such a blog nut, I just cant get enough and this is such an important topic… i’ll be sure to write something about your site

    Reply

  2. Linda Grace Says:

    Thank you! I look forward to reading your work also!

    Reply

  3. Self Esteem Says:

    Thank you so much, Great information… You keep writing and I’ll keep reading.

    Reply

  4. Linda Grace Says:

    Thank you! Hopefully we can help those afflicted!

    Reply

  5. Michael@Microwave reviews Says:

    I agree with your point of relating eating disorder with anxiety. Based on small talks with other people, looks like more people are experiencing eating disorders whenever they feel so depress. Most women tend to eat more while men starve themselves. Whatever the reason behind one’s eating disorder, it’s necessary to treat it immediately before things get serious.
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    Reply

  6. Megan Says:

    All of us need to be physically fit to stay healthy and to live longer but being too obsessed in slimming down is definitely not the way to do it. It’s disturbing to see models who are very thin and yet perceived to be sexy.

    Reply

    • Linda Grace Says:

      Hey Megan,
      I agree! It’s amazing how the media controls our opinions and as culture, we’re led to these problems!
      Linda
      ps. Have you thought about getting a Gravatar? http://lindagraceonline.com/get-the-focus-on-you/

      Reply

    • Susan J. Rockwell Says:

      Hi Megan,

      I definitely agree with your opinion about models being tagged as sexy even though look like all bones already. Maybe that’s the reason why some people (specially teens) turn anorexic/bullimic because they are thinking that being thin is sexy and they will be accepted more by people, which is a very wrong thinking.

      Warmly,
      Susan J. Rockwell
      Author of Vertifree Reviews

      Reply

  7. Raluca Stone Says:

    I know that there are many people who are not aware that they already have an eating disorder. This is because they do not know that what they are doing is no longer good for the body. Some of the common eating disorder that I know is Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia.

    Reply

    • Linda Grace Says:

      Raluca,
      Being addicted to anything is no fun! Food is the worst in my opinion because with Alcohol or drugs you can say ‘no’ once and never touch it again. Food you always have to eat!
      Linda

      Reply

  8. Andie Borja Says:

    When I read the title, first ting came to mind was PRESSURE – peer pressure, societal pressure, etc. Pressure come in different forms and when it hits you, you just can’t see sense in anything. A lot of teenage girls suffers though this all for the need to be accepted by the societal standard of how they’re supposed to look like. Which is really depressing really. A lot of these girls started healthy.

    Reply

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    • Linda Grace Says:

      Triathlon Training,
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  10. kristine911 Says:

    People with eating disorders often use food and the control of food in an
    attempt to compensate for feelings and emotions that may otherwise seem over-whelming. For some,
    dieting, bingeing, and purging may begin as a way to cope with painful emotions and to feel in
    control of one’s life, but ultimately, these behaviors will damage a person’s physical and emotional
    health, self-esteem, and sense of competence and control

    Reply

    • Linda Grace Says:

      Kristine,
      I couldn’t agree with you more! I hope that those with self defeating thoughts will get involved in counseling of some kind to release all the pain that keeps them there!
      Linda

      Reply

  11. Carla Says:

    I enjoy reading about eating disorders, I like to be informed about this subject and to be aware that this is a bad thing that could happen to anybody and this is one of the best article I read about this.

    Reply

    • Linda Grace Says:

      Carla,
      Thank you for saying so! When my kids were in high school, I met a young man, a wonderful basketball player who suffered from bulimia, until then, I thought only girls were afflicted by eating disorders!
      Linda

      Reply

  12. Dentistry 90048 Says:

    There are a ton of factors that go into eating disorders, and everyone is different – thanks for this article, I feel like people should know more about this disease and how/why it can happen… My sister suffered from anorexia when we were in high school and I read a lot about it, but I wished others could understand what she was going through a little better.

    Rosie

    Reply

    • Linda Grace Says:

      Rosie,
      I agree! It’s interesting that even with my experience, I couldn’t prevent one of my daughters from becoming bulimic! Fortunately I was able to spot it early on and she was able to successfully combat it!
      Linda

      Reply

  13. Andy Robertson Says:

    My wife thinks that she has a eating disorder but I keep telling her she doesn’t. True enough, she really doesn’t have because I let her read this.
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    Reply

  14. beth Says:

    Now I know the causes of eating disorder, thanks to you Linda. And for those parents out there who have teens that are facing this eating disorder.

    Reply

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  16. Joyce@Fat Loss 4 Idiots Check Says:

    Hello, I enjoy reading all of your article. I wanted to write a little comment to support you.

    Reply

  17. Grace Sevilly@cheap perfume Says:

    I’m thankful that I came across your website particularly this entry. I have a friend (Officemate) who I think has eating disorders. She is very thin and lanky. She does not have a good appetite and does not eat on time. She is a smoker and I think that’s one of the possible reasons. I shared your website to her if you dont mind :)

    Reply

  18. Kisty Says:

    I like reading this kinds of article and they are very informative as well . Eating disorder are great problems and needed to be controlled for healthy living.
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    Reply

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