“Eating disorders refer to a group of conditions characterized by abnormal eating habits that may involve either insufficient or excessive food intake to the detriment of an individual’s physical and emotional health.”
Most common types are binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa. For example, binge eating is a pattern of disordered eating which consists of episodes of uncontrolled eating and it is a central future of bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa.
Although, eating disorders are different from each other, their possible causes are generally the same. Scientists are still searching on the underlying causes of these eating disorders. Soon, we know that some specific factors may cause to the development of eating disorders. While eating disorders can start with concerns about weight and food, mostly they are about more than food. We can say that eating disorders may arise from combination of causes of psychological, interpersonal, social and biological factors.
First of all, there are many psychological factors that may cause to eating disorders such as low self-esteem, depression and isolation. Low self-esteem may make individual feel uncomfortable and disrespectful to themselves and that may contribute some eating disorders in some cases. Another factor is depression which is a problematic issue since it is not clear whether depression is the cause or effect of eating disorders. However, depression is common in families of patients with eating disorders. The other essential factor is isolation which can be mostly depressing and stressful. So, to suppress these negative feelings, an individual may be interested in emotional eating in which food serves as a source of comfort. To conclude, low self-esteem, depression and isolation are the possible psychological causes of eating disorders.
Secondly, interpersonal factors such as troubled family and personal relationships and child maltreatment may cause eating disorders. The last researches show that troubled family and personal relationships are intrinsic component in developing eating disorders. Moreover, parents eating patterns, the degree of involvement, general psychosocial climate of home and presence or absence of a stable environment affect eating behaviors of individuals especially children. Child maltreatment is the other interpersonal component that causes eating disorders. Child abuse, which includes physical, sexual and psychological abuse, is a hasty elements in psychiatric disorders including eating disorders. Children or individuals that are affected by abuse can develop eating disorder to have a sense of comfort or control. All in all, troubled family and personal relationships and child maltreatment are the interpersonal factors that may mostly contribute to eating disorders.
The third cause of eating disorders is social factor which includes cultural and peer pressure. Some scientists have find out that cultural pressure on thinness may be result in some eating disorders since culture glorifies thinness and give importance to obtain the perfect ideal body as portrayed by the media, fashion and entertainment industry. Therefore, the eating behavior or attitude may be changed in a negative way. Another factor is peer pressure which causes concerns about body image and appearance especially during teenage. Hence, individual attitudes toward eating may change and they may concern about their weight and how they appear to others. Consequently, social causes which are culture and peer pressure may trigger eating disorders sometimes.
The last cause is biological factor which includes unbalanced chemicals of brain and genetic predisposition. Researches are still studying on biological causes of eating disorders and they have found that some chemicals in the brain, which organize hunger, taste and digestion, are unbalanced. As a result, individuals may suffer from eating disorders due to unbalanced chemicals in the brain. Another factor is genetic predisposition. For example, some people are genetically prone to develop eating disorders. In other words, eating disorders may run in their families and when environmental conditions become, the eating disorder may appear. To sum up, biological factors which are unbalanced chemicals in the brain and genetic predisposition may cause eating disorders.
In conclusion, ‘there is no single possible cause for eating disorders.
They are complex situations which can emerge from a variety of potential causes. Firstly, there are psychological factors such as low self-esteem, depression and isolation that may cause eating disorders. The second cause is interpersonal factors such as troubled family and personal relationships and child maltreatment which may contribute developing eating disorders. The third cause is social factors includes cultural and peer pressure that may result in eating disorders. The last cause is biological factor includes certain unbalanced chemicals and genetic predisposition which may make individuals suffer from eating disorders. As we see, there is different kinds of possible causes although the exact cause of eating disorders is unknown. Since eating disorders are increasing day by day all over the world, to find some solutions for eating disorders, researches should be done to understand the exact causes of eating disorders.