Any eating disorder is serious. Eating disorders are not commonly found only in overweight individuals or in individuals who have lower body weight. These may be found in a people with normal bodyweight also. Bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, compulsive eating, pica, night-eating syndrome etc. are the disorders that most people suffer from. These disorders can have serious consequences in the social and personal life of individuals. So it is necessary that their family members or friends support them and take them to nutritionist, physical trainer, dietitian or physician as required.
But before doing so you must be aware of the causes of eating disorders. There are no definite causes of such abnormal eating patterns. A host of cultural, psychological and genetic causes are responsible. Go through the following points that will help you in understanding the many causes of eating disorder:
Life transitions: Transitions in life are common to any individual. So patients with eating disorder, especially anorexia nervosa prefer predictability and familiarity. They are unable to accept any change. Major life events like entering high school or college, loss of any near and dear one, critical sickness and transitions like onset of puberty make these persons feel a loss of control. In many cases, such persons may act in a childlike manner, both psychologically and physically.
Biological cause: Scientists are researching for the exact biological causes of eating disorder, researches indicate that an imbalance of certain chemicals in the brain cause these in many individuals. Genetic factors also play a vital role in increasing the risk factors of these disorders. For example, an individual whose sibling or parents suffer from any abnormal eating habits is likely to develop the same habits.
Trouble family issues: According to the National Eating Disorders Association, family issues or troubled family patterns also contribute to eating disorder. It has been found that many individuals with abnormal eating patterns belong to a family of troubled relationships, where the parent and the child do not share any healthy relationship. Many children also suffer from the feeling of ‘not being in control’ or fear of losing control. These children, especially those who starve or restrict their food consumption feel that controlling their food is the first thing that they have done on their own.
Psychological causes: A number of psychological factors are involved such as depression, anxiety, a belief that love and care from parents or family is directly related to good performance, low self-respect, extreme concern regarding other’s opinions, fascination for perfectionism, inability to express negative feelings like sadness, fear, anxiety, impulsive actions, competitiveness, etc.
Social/Cultural factors: Our society and cultural standards impact the mind of many individuals and they seek refuse to unhealthy and risky eating patterns. Our culture’s emphasis on ‘perfect body’ and ‘thinness’, people’s tendency of judging others by their body appearances and not by inner qualities also make a person suffer from eating disorders. Many people who face extreme pressure to achieve set goals and succeed are quite prone to eating disorder.
Along with the above-mentioned risk factors of eating disorder, gender (females are more prone to these diseases), age, certain professions like dancing, wrestling, gymnastics, personality disorders also increase the chances of eating disorders. So one must diagnose the disorder and start the necessary treatment without delay.