5 Most Common Causes Of Eating Disorders For Women

by | Oct 15, 2012 | Health Habits, Nutrition Support, Uncategorized

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Several types of eating disorders affect women of all ages and backgrounds. The disorders affect the women in different ways with some exhibiting worse symptoms than others. Most women who have eating disorders do not believe that they have a problem and that is why the condition is difficult to treat. While those with this condition may exhibit similar symptoms, the factors that lead to the condition are often very different.

Eating disorders usually begin in the mind and most of those who suffer from the condition start out trying to fix other issues in their lives. Bulimia and anorexia are the most common eating disorders. Here are the several causes of the disorders which are believed to be the most common:

1. Major transitions

While most people adapt to life’s transitions with ease, there are those who find it difficult to cope or accept the changes and this can lead to an eating disorder. These individuals like things to remain familiar and predictable, so the transitions often cause them to feel overwhelmed.

They look for an outlet to vent their angst, which in this case triggers the disorder. Some transitions, like transferring to a new school and the onset of puberty, cause many young girls to turn to the destructive behavior. The death of a loved one or contracting a major illness can also cause an eating disorder.

2. Traumatic events

A large number of women or girls who go through traumatic events like sexual and physical abuse usually end up with an eating disorder. Evidence shows that most women in treatment centers dealing with the disorder have been abused at some point in their lives. Some of them may have been abused when they were much younger but the disorder continues long into their adult lives.

Many of these individuals try to cope with the abuse through the eating disorder. Most of them feel like if they lose all the weight, they remove the sexual characteristics that led to the abuse. They try to lose their identity, so as to speak, to wipe out any memory or thoughts of the traumatic event.

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3. Family problems

Generally, many individuals who suffer from eating disorders come from dysfunctional families. The family dynamic is very important in controlling the physical and emotional health of individuals. When this dynamic is destroyed, many conditions including eating disorders occur. In families where parents have little control over their children’s lives, eating disorders can occur pretty easily.

Well, it’s often true that the parents fail to pay attention to what their children are doing, or what they are eating or not eating. If the family does not have meals together, it is difficult to know when there is a problem. The child can also turn to avoid eating in the misguided fear of losing control. She feels like when she chooses not to eat, she is in control of her actions and her life.

4. Family lifestyle

The way people treat food in a family can also lead to eating disorders. A girl who is constantly exposed to a mother, who is on frequent diets, will learn early enough that food is “evil”. If all the girl hears is how weight is a problem and to be happy, one has to be thin, she is likely to exhibit eating problems.

In some situations, the children start getting negative comments from the parents the moment they look like they are adding weight. While some parents may argue that they are trying to help their children, they are actually doing more harm than good. When the children have a negative relationship with food, they are likely to develop an eating disorder.


5. Low self-esteem

Those who have social problems like low self-esteem are also more likely to develop an eating disorder. Usually, these individuals have been teased about their appearance at some point in their lives. Some people develop the condition in their adult life in response to a situation that occurred when they were in high school. With a society that is fixated on physical appearance, these people feel like they have to conform to the set standards and they turn to starving themselves.

While these are the most common causes of eating disorders, this list is by no means exhaustive. The condition can affect people with other personalities, such as those who are perfectionists as well. In my opinion, eating disorders are a response to an underlying issue and the only way to treat the condition is by digging deep and deal with the root cause.

Author’s Bio: Sarah Wayne is an expert health care professional who often writes informative posts on her blogs. She is also one among the active members of the online group – Harmony-Grove, that offers quality eating disorder treatment.


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