The Causes of Eating Disorders Essay

1994 Words 8 Pages
The Causes of Eating Disorders

There is no single cause for eating disorders. A number of factors, including cultural and family pressures, chemical imbalances, and emotional and personality disorders collaborate to produce both anorexia and bulimia, although each disorder is determined by different combinations of these influences. Genetics may also play a small role.

Between 40% to 96% of all eating-disordered patients experience depression and anxiety disorders; depression is also common in families of patients with eating disorders. Bulimic patients are more likely to report having emotional disorders and dysfunctional families than are anorexic-restrictor patients. It is not clear, however, whether emotional disorders are
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Eating sweets increases serotonin.

Seasonality often affects both depression and eating disorders. In many people, depression is more severe in darker winter months. Similarly, a subgroup of bulimic patients suffer from a specific form of bulimia that worsens in winter and fall; such patients are more apt to have started bingeing at an earlier age and to binge more frequently than those whose bulimia is more consistent year round. Onset of anorexia appears to peak in May, which is also the peak month for suicide.

Anxiety disorders are very common in anorexia and bulimia. Phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) usually precede the onset of the eating disorder, while panic disorder tends to follow. Social phobias, in which a person is fearful about being humiliated in public, are common in both eating disorders. People with anorexia are especially prone to obsessive-compulsive disorder. Obsessions are recurrent or persistent mental images, thoughts, or ideas, which may result in compulsive behavior -- repetitive, rigid, and self-prescribed routines that are intended to prevent the manifestation of the obsession. Women with anorexia may become obsessed with exercise, dieting, and food. They often develop compulsive rituals -- e.g., weighing every bit of food, cutting it into tiny pieces, or putting it into tiny containers. The presence of OCD with either anorexia or bulimia does not
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