Eating disorders affect men and women across the world. Sadly, these disorders often go unnoticed until they've caused serious harm.
There are many different types of eating disorders, but they all have one thing in common: an unhealthy relationship with food. This is why a therapist is often involved in determining the cause of the condition. These are some factors that may be involved in the development of an eating disorder.
People with low self-esteem often view themselves as unworthy or undeserving, or they may constantly feel that they need to make changes to their physical appearance to feel better. This can lead to restrictive eating patterns or bingeing and purging.
Exposure to Ideas About "Ideal" Bodies
Another common cause of eating disorders is exposure to ideas about what an "ideal" body looks like. This can come from the media, friends, or even family members. People who are exposed to these ideals may start to believe that they need to change their own bodies.
Parental or Family Pressures
In some cases, parents may encourage their children to lose weight or pursue a certain body type. Families may also put pressure on members to meet unrealistic expectations for aesthetic purposes. In some cases, the pressure is not necessarily expressed directly but rather through subtle hints or feelings of comparison.
Depression or Anxiety
People who are depressed or anxious may use food as a way to cope with their emotions. They may overeat to try to feel better or to cope with emotions, or they might try to control their food intake to curb some feelings of anxiety.
Traumatic experiences, such as sexual abuse or the death of a loved one, can also lead to eating disorders. People who have been through these experiences may use food as a way to numb their emotions or cope with their trauma. In some situations, food is the one element of life an individual may feel he or she can control.
Participating in Some Sports & Activities
Certain sports and activities, such as gymnastics, figure skating, and bodybuilding, can also be related to eating disorders. This is because these activities often have unrealistic standards for bodies.
Eating Disorder Treatment Is Crucial No Matter the Cause
If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, there is help available. A therapist can provide support and guidance as you work to overcome this disorder. In many cases, eating disorder treatment also includes medical care to help patients get to a healthy weight.
For more information, contact an eating disorder center near you.