What Are Some Causes of Eating Disorders?

What Are Some Causes of Eating Disorders?
Anorexia and bulimia are very complicated disorders, and different people can develop them for different reasons. That is, while many individuals with eating disorders think and act in very similar ways, the reasons they have these thoughts and actions can be quite different.

Although many people view these behaviors as self-destructive acts, most individuals who develop eating disorders do not usually perceive their behaviors as self-harmful. Actually, most patients feel that they began the behaviors to try to fix other problems. The most common reason therapists hear from people about why they began self-starvation, bingeing or purging is that at some point they felt terribly out of control -- whether because of something they were feeling inside themselves or something that was happening to them from their outside environment.

Following are some of the most common causes of eating disorders.

Major life transitions. Many patients with eating disorders have difficulty with change. Anorexics, in particular, typically prefer that things be predictable, orderly and familiar. Consequently, transitions such as the onset of puberty, entering high school or college, or major illness or death of someone close to them can overwhelm these individuals and cause them to feel a loss of control.

In many girls with eating disorders, the lowering of body weight and body fat levels from self-starvation can arrest the menstrual cycle and delay other body changes that come with puberty. Girls who lose their period essentially return to a more childlike state, both physically and psychologically. They neither feel nor look like adolescent or young adult women, and, therefore, can postpone making the transition to adolescence or young adulthood.

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