Anorexia Causes

by Catherine Rein
(last updated April 22, 2009)

You may know someone who is suffering from an eating disorder and feel helpless in how to address the situation. Knowing more about anorexia and other eating disorders can help you find the professional help required to overcome this serious illness.

With the images of thin men and women popularized on media throughout U.S. culture, the stress to attain a "perfect" body can be extreme. This pressure often extends through families, who push their young people to be thin. Previously people thought that minority cultures could not become affected by anorexia, that they were protected by their culture's acceptance of many body sizes, but as these groups are increasingly exposed to images of thin individuals, they are more likely to develop eating disorders.

Though the causes of anorexia are not completely understood, there are components that seem to increase the likelihood of someone suffering from the eating disorder:

  • Biological. Studies indicate that anorexia does tend to run in families and that brain chemistry is involved. Patients with anorexia have high levels of cortisol, the brain hormone related to stress and decreased levels of serotonin and norepinephrine, the hormones involved with feelings of well-being.
  • Psychological. Anorexia sufferers often have a perfectionist quality; they have a need to please others. They judge themselves severely and feel that if they are not perfect, especially in their appearance, they're a failure.
  • Family and Social Pressures. The level of anorexia in society has grown over time due to an increasing level of pressure to be thin according to prevailing notions of beauty in magazines and on TV. Families can also put pressure on young people to be thin, through criticism and by putting too much emphasis on looks.

There are other possible causes of anorexia as well. Stressful events and life changes can also bring on the symptoms of anorexia. When young people, especially women, go through puberty, the pressure to remain thin can be overwhelming. Athletes are also often under pressure to keep excess weight off, specifically those athletes competing at high levels of gymnastics, running, and dance.

Overcoming eating disorders is not easy and will require the help of trained professionals. Building a healthy body image is about being comfortable in your own body and using your body in all the ways that nature intended. By staying away from the scale and enjoying food because of its healthy taste and the way it strengthens your body you can begin to view your body in a different and healthy way.

Author Bio

Catherine Rein

MORE FROM CATHERINE

Rolling Over Your IRA

You should roll over old IRA and 401(k) accounts into new IRA accounts. This will increase the amount of control you have ...

Discover More

Should I Get Out of the Stock Market?

Investing in the stock market has historically outperformed other investments such as bonds or CDs. There are three areas to ...

Discover More

Strategies to Save Money

Saving money doesn't have to be complicated. The trick is to start small and make saving a habit. You can quickly accumulate ...

Discover More
More Health Tips

Anorexia Symptoms

Anorexia most often affects women, especially those ranging in age from 13 to 20, generally as they are coming of age and ...

Discover More

Common Eating Disorders

This article covers the most common eating disorders: Anorexia Nervosa, which is a serious disease characterized by ...

Discover More

Symptoms of Eating Disorders

Anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating are three common eating disorders. The symptoms of eating disorders can include ...

Discover More
Comments

If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Maximum image size is 6Mpixels. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is one more than 9?

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)