Developing an Eating Disorder Essay

2190 Words 9 Pages
Why is it that people develop eating disorders? There is no simple explanation, and no one answer that applies everyone. There are several types of eating disorders, but the most prevalent in adolescent and young adult females are anorexia nervosa and bulimia (Larocca, 1986). There are six main areas that potentially explain just why it is that people succumb to anorexia and bulimia. These factors are biological, psychological, family, social, cultural, and media (Siegel, Brisman & Weinshel, 2002).

One of the factors contributing to the development of anorexia and bulimia is biological. To some extent, it has been proven that temperament can be genetically determined. (Siegel, Brisman & Weinshel, 2002). This can easily be
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Current research suggests that genetic factors predispose some people to anxiety, perfectionism, and obsessive-compulsive thoughts and behaviors.

“People with a mother or sister who has had anorexia nervosa are 12 times more likely than others with no family history of that disorder to develop it themselves. They are four times more likely to develop bulimia” (Larocca, 1986, p. 26).

Bulimics tend to display the following personality traits: low self-esteem, need for approval/dependency, low tolerance for anxiety and frustration, compulsiveness, irresponsibility, histrionic (lively, dramatic, even theatrical) expression, and decision-making difficulty (Sherman & Thompson, 1990).

It is important to note that once a person begins to starve or purge, those behaviors in and of themselves have the power to alter brain chemistry and prolong the disorder. For example: both under eating and overeating can activate brain chemicals that produce feelings of peace and euphoria, thereby temporarily dispelling anxiety and depression. Some researchers believe that people with eating disorders may be using food to self-medicate painful feelings and distressing moods (Siegel, Brisman & Weinshel, 2002).

New research suggests that there is a biological link between stress and the drive to eat. Comfort foods, which are foods high in sugar, fat, and calories, seem to calm the body’s response to chronic stress. In
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