Many of us that struggle with an addiction or disorder, or love someone who is, are often left asking the questions, “Why?” The exact cause of an eating disorder is unclear, but there are several factors that can put you at a greater risk for developing one. Eating disorders can involve a range of conditions from obsession with food, to weight, and appearance. As we gather more information and insight from new research, we begin to understand more about what may contribute to eating disorders.

Here are some factors that could contribute to an eating disorder:

1. Genetics

People who are born with certain genotypes are at a greater risk for the development of an eating disorder. Individuals who have family members, specifically siblings or parents, with an eating disorder are more likely to have one too. However, this is not the only factor that determines an eating disorder.

2. Psychological health

It’s common for those who have an eating disorder to also suffer from psychological or emotional issues that contribute to the disorder. Psychological issues like low self-esteem, perfectionism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, impulsive behavior, and trouble relationships can all play a role in an eating disorder. Many of these characteristics are thought to exist before an eating disorder and persist after recovery. The good news is treatment is available and recovery works.

3. Environment

An eating disorder’s manifestation can depend a lot on outside factors such as dieting, pop culture, and peer pressure. The U.S. media’s obsession with the perfect body and thin ideal standards can put unrealistic expectations in anyone’s mind. Negative body image can go a long way in bringing insecurities to the surface. Our country also has a large diet market. It’s not uncommon to see people take extreme measures to lose weight and try many different diet products. If you’re surrounded by this type of culture or others who may be concerned with dieting and thinness, it’s no surprise then that you may be influenced.

4. Trauma

Traumatic events like emotional, sexual, or physical abuse can be the beginning or perpetuate, an eating disorder. An eating disorder can become a way to cope with whatever an individual is feeling. In some cases the eating disorder is an expression of self-harm or misdirected punishment for said trauma. This is why it’s so important to treat an eating disorder as well as any trauma you’ve experienced.

5. Biology

The biological foundation of eating disorders is still being researched. Some research suggests that chemicals in the brain that control appetite and hunger may induce an eating disorder when they are unbalanced. Biological factors also help to explain why some people’s eating disorders manifest as binge eating, starvation, or binging and purging.

The causes of eating disorders are not set in stone, but these factors could play a role. If you’re tired of dealing with pain and suffering associated with food, we can help.

Contact our center today to get treatment: 855-625-9093

By – Kelly Fitzgerald
Kelly is a sober writer based in Cape Coral, Florida, best known for her personal blog The Adventures Of A Sober Senorita. She has been published across the web on sites like The Huffington Post, SheKnows, Ravishly, The Fix, and Buzzfeed. Read more
Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.