Causes of Eating Disorders
Eating disorders are a very complex mental illness that involve unhealthy eating behaviors and distorted body image. Though often associated with dieting attempts, numerous factors contribute to why eating disorders develop in some individuals. Here are a few primary reasons.
Desire For Control
Firstly, many who suffer report experiencing a strong need for perfectionism and orderliness. Consequently, restricting food and controlling what they eat provides a way to regulate at least one part of their lives when other aspects feel chaotic or beyond their control. Thus, the rigid rules and rituals surrounding food function become a means of gaining a sense of control for some of the individuals.
Pressure To Achieve A Certain Body Image
Additionally, widespread cultural ideals that glorify extreme thinness can promote unhealthy dieting practices and eating disorder behaviors in those seeking to attain that body type. Hence, constant exposure through social and traditional media to images of underweight models fuels feelings of inadequacy and perceived pressure to become increasingly thin. However, achieving an unhealthy body composition is typically unfeasible, leaving sufferers constantly striving toward a “perfect” image that does not represent health.
Trauma Or Abuse
Furthermore, major traumatic experiences like physical, emotional or sexual abuse can also contribute to developing an eating disorder as a means of coping. For instance, some restrict food as a way to self-harm without leaving obvious marks. Others overeat as a form of self-medicationto deal with symptoms of anxiety or depression resulting from trauma.
While not all those who suffer have a history of abuse, for some, difficult life experiences play a role in the onset of their eating disorder.
In summary, numerous interrelated factors combine to influence why eating disorders develop in certain individuals, from environmental pressures to problematic coping mechanisms for life stressors. However, with treatment, most people with eating disorders can achieve a fulfilling life defined by improved self-esteem,healthy coping skills and a positive body image instead of restrictive dieting.