Eating habits are often influenced by magazines, billboards and the modeling industry which portrays sculpted figures that are very unrealistic.

Equally responsible for causes of eating disorders are the irresistible deals of fast food restaurants. Eating disorders can be defined as a mental illness that is characterized by irregular eating habits. The sufferer struggles with guilt, depression, and various other body image issues. The causes of eating disorders can be explained easily by looking at these three forms.

Anorexia Nervosa: A common eating disorder, Anorexia Nervosa is characterized by an obsession for maintenance of slim-line figure. The young patients are afraid of gaining weight, and their weight is well below the BMI standards. Moreover, people with Anorexia Nervosa limit the amount of food intake to dangerously tiny portions which ultimately becomes one of the causes of eating disorders.

Bulimia Nervosa: This eating disorder is characterized by the consumption of huge portions of food that is followed with a self-purging cycle. After over-eating, the individuals would induce vomit, indulge in excessive amounts of exercise, and use laxatives to feel good.

Individuals suffering from Bulimia Nervosa remain unhappy with their current body image and have an intense fear of gaining weight. Furthermore, their self-purging activities are always carried out in secret.

Binge-eating Disorder: Binge-eating disorder is characterized with over-eating that is carried out over longer periods. Binge-eating disorder is similar to Bulimia but where Bulimia is followed by self-purging sessions, Binge-eating is not. People diagnosed with Binge-eating disorder are obese and feel embarrassed by their weight.

If the causes of eating disorders are neglected, the affected individuals are likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease, depression, multi-organ failure, heart difficulties, and electrolyte imbalances.

Causes of Eating Disorders

The causes of eating disorders are complex in nature. Although people mainly blame the media, there are other underlying causes of eating disorders too.

The extensive research has been uncovering various causes of eating disorders, many of which are related to psychological behavior and other genetic factors.

Genetic Factors

Recent research has shown genetics as one of the main causes of eating disorders. It was revealed that people who were born with certain genetic make-up are at more risk of developing this disorder. Research(1) also uncovered the fact that eating disorder is hereditary in nature which means that people with a family history of eating disorders are 7 to 12% more likely to develop it.

Psychological Factors

Psychological factors such as stress, loneliness, depression and anxiety have all been labeled as the causes of eating disorders.  Instead of dealing with the stressful conditions in a positive way, the neglected individuals turn towards abnormal eating habits and cope with their psychological condition by either overeating or starving themselves.

Societal Factors

Society, in general, promotes unhealthy and unrealistic body images due to which the impressionable minds turn to unhealthy ways to achieve soi-disant ideal figure. This race to achieving perfection has become one of the major causes of eating disorders. Not achieving a perfect body contour leads to low self-esteem or body hatred issues which result in Anorexia, Bulimia or Binge-eating disorders.

Interpersonal Relationships

Family interactions also affect eating habits. Young adult mothers who are obsessed with their weight will leave an adverse impression on their children that may even trigger odd eating habits in them. Comments made to bully on someone’s physical appearance may cause adoption of weird eating habits to conform to the societally accepted body image.

Family members and peers don’t even realize, but their comments about someone’s appearance become one of the major causes of eating disorder in the future.

Traumatic Factors

Traumas from physical, mental, emotional or sexual abuse can cause the individual to feel shame, helplessness, guilt or a lack of control. These traumas have the tendency to become causes of eating disorders since people start inflicting harm on their bodies by developing odd eating habits. Traumatic factors being one of the causes of eating disorders, the affected individual should seek help to feel content.


Causes of eating disorders are many but know the good news that there is eating disorder treatment available here. If you feel like you are experiencing any of the symptoms of eating disorders, you should immediately seek advice from a qualified doctor.

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