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3 Major Factors That Can Lead to Eating Disorder

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Over the years, the psychological disorder associated with the impaired behaviour connected with eating has been discovered to be eating disorders present both in males and females.

Despite the fact that there are many social and other multifaceted factors associated with it, generally, their causes are unknown and undetermined. However, eating disorders can be classified into two broad conditions either too much eating or too less.

In both of these cases, these kinds of illnesses lead to an effect on overall mental health and general wellness of the body, often leading to deficiency in the social life of the patient including the effect on family life, work performance, social engagements and general societal functioning. 

Most times, eating disorders can be dependent on age, environment and culture though most of the cases come from adolescence because it is the stage of enormous awareness, exploration and carelessness.

However, large and many kinds of these disorders are also related to the western environments and culture, with women being affected the most in either anorexia nervosa or bulimia. 

It is reported that women have a 20% more likelihood to suffer from an eating disorder than men. Eating disorders can begin with either obsessive eating or overeating and in some cases stop eating or taking meals at the usual time, for a momentous aggregate period of the time. Below is an examination of certain causes of eating disorders from different perspectives.

Social factors

From the perspective of society, with the advancement and aid of celebrities advertisements, western media publications both in print and online, movie productions where thin females and muscular males and vice versa are considered to be perfect or ideal for the use which influences people to act or tend to want to possess certain body structures.

Hence, there are further labels and body image which is developed among the society and certain cultures too leading to eating disorders. Also, peer pressure in society is one major contributing factor here to eating in order to gain a certain type of body structure.

Thus, Asian females have reported less of having anorexia nervosa compared to females of Caucasians because of different body image perceptions developed in the regions, locations and society.

Psychological responses 

From the psychological or emotional viewpoint, people with eating disorders have a habit of getting emotional relief by over or under-eating as a result of poor self-esteem and negative observation of life which result in the disorder.

For instance, though, bulimia patients generally have high hostility as compared to people with anorexia but are affected by psychological and emotional responses.

Furthermore, in this regard, there is a reduced stress level after the activity for individuals with reported cases of binging and purging. Gradually, it becomes an active technique for managing anger and controlling how people are further affected.

Thus, bulimic individuals experienced less anger than those with anorexia nervosa hence, over-admiring the psychological response of other individuals can lead to eating disorders.

Stimulus-response mechanism

People become anorexic or bulimic because they might be striving for perfection and so start exhibiting certain eating behaviours to achieve their ideal weight and body structure based on body stimuli from others.

On reaching this goal, individuals often receive approval and respect from friends and loved ones to some extent before beginning to lose interest again.

Further, it supports their continuous habit and eating behaviour and so it goes on in a vicious circle of repetitive behaviours. There might also be approved for the anorexic or bulimic looks like a model and gets admired for it.

For both disordered sufferers, the reinforcement might come from overeating, bingeing and purging, which reduce their eating beliefs. Hence, the reward for stopping this eating behaviour might come in the form of attention from family, relatives and friends.


Since high levels of concern over one’s body shape and weight (a disturbance in the cognitive and affective components of body image) constitute the core psychopathology of eating disorders, researchers have begun to evaluate factors that might contribute to body image problems, body reactions as well as to construct hypothetical models of risk for eating disorders.  

However, initial treatment of these disorders can lead to better recovery processes and luckily these disorders are curable in the long run.

Nevertheless, despite several hypothetical, experimental and psychotherapeutic approaches to the problem of what causes eating disorders, the question remains open what are the actual causes of eating disorders.

Onah Caleb is a research assistant at Benue State University (Nigeria). He runs the blog KaylebsThought.


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