What Causes an Eating Disorder?
Eating disorders have multiple causes and individuals all develop eating disorders for different reasons. Most eating disorders begin with an individual’s attempt to alter their behavior to try to fix problems they are experiencing in their lives and regain control. Examples include:
- Major life transitions: puberty, entering a new school, major loss or trauma
- Family problems: excessively controlling family members, disconnection between family members
- Social difficulties: being a perfectionist, associating high achievement with self-worth, constantly comparing oneself to others, poor body image
- Biological vulnerability: research suggests a possible genetic basis to eating disorders as well as an increased risk to those who have previously struggled with other mental illnesses
Who is Affected by Eating Disorders?
Nearly 30 million Americans suffer from an eating disorder at some point in their lifetime. It is estimated that out of that 30 million, 20 million are women and 10 million are men. All socioeconomic ethnic, genders and cultural groups are at risk of developing an eating disorder.