Understanding Eating Disorders: What Are the Contributing Factors?


At least thirty million people in the United States suffer from an eating disorder. Most of those people are going about their daily lives.

But every 62 minutes, one person dies as a result of their eating disorders. That’s why it’s so important that you pay attention to the early signs that you or someone you love may have a problem so that you can catch it before it’s too late.

Read on to learn what to look for.

Psychological Factors

Eating disorders are first and foremost a psychological illness. It often starts with feelings of low self-esteem and inadequacy. Then someone might become depressed and anxious about their body and the way they look.

They begin to believe that the validation they get from family and friends is dependent on them being a high achiever, and they feel like they aren’t good enough to deserve love.

They may also have a lot of problems coping with situations and expressing their emotions, particularly if they are negative.

The impulsive and compulsive behaviors that come with their eating disorder help them feel like they have more control over their lives and the way other people view them.

Social Factors

A lot of the pressure that surrounds eating disorders comes from society. There is a push for people to be one particular thing and have the “perfect” body.

People can start to think that their bodies aren’t good enough, specifically people who place a lot of emphasis on how their body looks.

That could be adolescents or people who are in certain career fields that are high pressure like dancers, models, and athletes. They feel such a need to succeed that they will do whatever they think it takes to get there.

Biological and Genetic Factors

There are also correlations between having an eating disorder and genetics.  There is a lot more research that has to be done, but it is clear that people with eating disorders have a chemical imbalance in their brains.

There is also a correlation to people who have been exposed to family members that have an eating disorder then developing one themselves.

Other Factors of Eating Disorders

There are several other factors that can lead to the development of an eating disorder. Many people go through harsh life events and have to make major life changes. This could be due to the death of a family member, a divorce, or a big move.

The person may start out dieting and face a lot of peer pressure to be skinny. They also may have poor habits when it comes to dealing with stress and a history of bullying. They also could be afraid of aging.

More Health Advice

Now that you have an idea of the early signs of eating disorders, you can assess your situation and decide if you need to find treatment for yourself or someone you love.

For more health advice, check out our other articles today.


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