The exact cause of eating disorders is unknown. However, many doctors believe that a combination of genetic, physical, social, and psychological factors may contribute to the development of an eating disorder spearheaded by Serotonin, a naturally occurring brain chemical that regulates mood, learning, and sleep, as well as other functions.
Other genetic, social, and environmental factors that may increase your risk for developing an eating disorder include:
Genes may increase a person’s susceptibility to developing an eating disorder. According to the Mayo Clinic, people with first-degree relatives who have an eating disorder are more likely to have one, too.
Weight loss is often met with positive reinforcement. The need for affirmation can drive you to diet more severely, which can lead to an eating disorder.
If you have an eating disorder, an underlying psychological or mental health problem may be contributing to it. These problems can include: low self-esteem, anxiety depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, troubled relationships, and impulsive behavior.
Certain life changes and events can cause emotional distress and anxiety, which can make you more susceptible to eating disorders. This is especially true if you’ve struggled with an eating disorder in the past. These times of transition can include moving, changing jobs, the end of a relationship, or the death of a loved one. Abuse, sexual assault, and incest can also trigger an eating disorder.
If you’re part of sports teams or artistic groups, you’re at an increased risk. The same is true for members of any community that’s driven by appearance as a symbol of social status, including athletes, actors, dancers, models, and television personalities. Coaches, parents, and professionals in these areas
Teenagers can be especially susceptible to eating disorders because of hormonal changes during puberty and social pressure to look attractive or thin. These changes are normal, and your teenager may only practice unhealthy eating habits every once in a while.
But if your teenager begins to obsess over their weight, appearance, or diet, or starts consistently eating too much or too little, they may be developing an eating disorder. Abnormal weight loss or weight gain may also be a sign of an eating disorder, especially if your teenager frequently makes negative comments about their body or perceived size.
Societal pressure can also contribute to eating disorders. Success and personal worth are often equated with physical beauty and a slim physique, especially in Western culture. The desire to succeed or feel accepted may fuel behaviors associated with eating disorders.Women are affected by eating disorders more often, but men are not immune. Most women with eating disorders wish to lose weight and become thinner,