Advertisement

Why do people develop eating disorders?

It's tempting to blame psychological problems or an unhealthy family dynamic when someone develops an eating disorder -- but researchers say that the real reasons are very different. In this video, Dr. Walter Kaye, of NORMAL nonprofit, discusses the biological underpinnings of this dangerous problem.
Marjorie Nolan Cohn
Nutrition & Dietetics
There are many, many reasons why someone develops an eating disorder. One of the primary factors is trauma. A trauma may include verbal or physical abuse, family death, illness, and or any other traumatizing event in one’s life. The trauma sparks a need to cope, and for those who don’t have a positive support system or the capacity to cope in a healthy way food may become the coping mechanism. This includes restriction, binging/purging, and/or binging – in many cases in involves some combination of all. There is also some evidence that eating disorders are hereditary. This may be genetic, environmentally learned behaviors and/or a combination of both. 

Continue Learning about Eating Disorders Causes & Risk Factors

How can emotional triggers cause overeating?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MDDr. Mehmet Oz, MD
At a very young age, our intake of food and our emotions start becoming intertwined. How many small ...
More Answers
What is the link between perfectionism and eating disorders?
Alice DomarAlice Domar
Some 10 million females and 1 million males in the United States suffer from the eating disorder...
More Answers
Can excessive juice cleansing lead to an eating disorder?
Brenda K. Wade, PhDBrenda K. Wade, PhD
Excessive juice cleansing can indeed lead to an eating disorder, in that the behavior mimics the cla...
More Answers
Who is at risk for developing an eating disorder?
Academy of Nutrition and DieteticsAcademy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Both men and women may develop an eating disorder; however some groups are more at risk than oth...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.