The general view of eating disorders is that it is a desperate attempt by teenage girls to stay slim. And while that isn’t entirely untrue, looking skinny isn’t the only reason that induces eating disorders in a person. We examine the reasons that make a person develop an eating disorder.
Researchers have been able to identify genetic factors that make a person predisposed to developing an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia. Both bulimia and anorexia have been linked to specific chromosomes and it has been found that eating disorders are passed down generations.
It has been found that people that have a high level of serotonin, a stress hormone, in their system, tend to develop eating disorders more easily. When elevated, the stress hormone cortisol too can make a person fall prey to bulimia and anorexia.
It has been found that people who struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety disorders and clinical depression are more prone to developing eating disorders than others. Other psychological factors that can lead to the development of an eating disorder in a person are impulsivity, perfectionism, trouble with expressing or coping with emotions and low self esteem.
Research has proven that a person’s self image is often shaped by what is considered beautiful or desirable in their culture. For example, women that have grown up surrounded by images of fashion models that are a size zero will try to achieve those unrealistic proportions through eating disorders. The media today is full of messages that glamorize and condone famous women that are able to keep their body weight and fat percentage down and shame female celebrities that are in a healthy weight range but do not boast of a toned or slim body. People that internalize this message that “skinny is good” tend to develop eating disorders.
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