What Causes Anorexia?

Anorexia is an eating disorder in which people consume small quantities of food in order to lose weight and eventually become dangerously thin.

Despite the weight loss, they still perceive themselves as overweight. While the exact causes of anorexia are unknown, there are a number of conditions that can encourage the disorder.

Need for Control

The need for control is often considered a reason some people become anorexic. Food and weight can be controlled, while other aspects of a person’s life may not. Leaving home for the first time, a divorce or serious illness are all events that can trigger the illness.

Additionally, anorexics may feel a kind of security in losing weight, while others may not be able to. Losing weight can lead to a feeling of accomplishment, unlike other uncontrollable aspects of life.

Coping with Abuse

A number of people with anorexia also have a history of abuse and use the disorder as a coping method. Sexual or physical drama can initiate anorexia, in addition to other traumatic life experiences like racial, sexual or religious discrimination.

Anorexia is an effective way to avoid pain and distract the sufferer, as losing weight requires constant attention. Counting calories and exercising vigorously are just a few distracters. When anorexics succeed in losing weight, they experience a “high”, which alleviates feelings of depression that resulted from abuse.

Social Influence

A person is more likely to experience anorexia if someone in his or her family has anorexia. Additionally, individuals with jobs that emphasize body size, like ballet or modeling, are more susceptible to experience anorexia.

A number of social influences like these can lead to an obsession with physical perfection. The need to feel perfect, never feeling good enough or constantly worrying about one’s appearance can initiate the disorder.

Source: WebMD

Eating Disorder Self Test. Take the EAT-26 self test to see if you might have eating disorder symptoms that might require professional evaluation. All answers are confidential.

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