Causes of Eating DisordersWhat Are the Causes of Eating Disorders

To say that there is one cause or something whose direct outcome results in an eating disorder is almost impossible. Therefore this article addresses some of the factors and trends that seem to commonly correlate with the outcome of an eating disorder. As with most modern day mental health issues, there is the bio-psycho-social approach, which analyzes the biological, psychological, and social/ environmental links to any given disorders.

Are Eating Disorders Hereditary?

According to Mayo Clinic, the biological links to an eating disorder include genetics and/ or problems with the hormone serotonin, which is linked to eating patterns and behavior. There is also the general trend that individuals who have family members with an eating disorder are also more susceptible being both genetic and/or learnt behavior. The, psychological causes of an eating disorder stem from emotional or psychological problems that can feed into disordered eating behavior such as low self- esteem impulsivity, perfectionism, failed coping to trauma or troubled relationships. Finally, western world culture reinforces a desire and preference for thin, thus peer pressure and society’s ideation of thin being equal to beautiful can attribute to a social cause for eating disorders .

In addition to the bio-psycho-social approach there are many risk factors and common trends among people with eating disorders. The Medical Center at the University of Maryland suggest that approximately 7 million females and 1 million males have an eating disorder suggesting a very sound gender difference as a risk factor. In addition to gender, it was found that the majority of cases occur during adolescence and young adults but have been becoming more common among younger children.

Co-ocurring Mental Health Issues

Socioeconomic status and ethnic differences do not pose as a risk factor. Personality disorders, body image disorders, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, post traumatic stress disorder are found to be some of the most common co-occurring mental health issues among those with eating disorders. Finally, individuals involved in professions such as modeling, dance, or athletics tend to be at risk due to the high emphasis of weight. Likewise, individuals that are overweight have also developed an eating disorder. Finally other links to eating disorders include health issues such as diabetes whose treatment is often associated with strict eating regimens as well as vegetarianism/ veganism if not practices in an informed manner in which the nutritional content found in meats are not adequately replaced .

Although these risk factors and links are very common among individuals who develop disordered eating or are diagnosed with eating disorders it is important to remember that correlations are not causation and regardless of the reason. If you are someone you know is at risk or has an eating disorder, there is help.

If someone you love is in danger, please call Center for Discovery immediately at 800.760.3934. Call now and you can speak with one of Center for Discovery’s experienced admission specialists today. Or you can fill out this form for a FREE assessment. All calls are completely FREE and strictly confidential.




The Mayo Clinic. Eating Disorders.

University of Maryland. Medical Center. Eating Disorders.