Why Do People Become Anorexic?

Patients suffering with anorexia spend a majority of their time thinking about their weight, often in an attempt to supplement solutions for other problems, like a history of abuse or stress.

While the exact cause of anorexia is unknown, there are a number of common associations made between anorexics and the development of the eating disorder.


Many who suffer from anorexia feel the need to be perfect, and are therefore high achievers in school and work. Being anything less than the best is considered unforgivable. Despite this mindset, an anorexic will never perceive him or herself as perfect, and will therefore continue to restrict in order to achieve ideal beauty.

External Stress

An unhappy home life, an illness in the family, abuse or overreaching expectations at school or work can add to stress a person may feel from external sources. These are things that an anorexic finds uncontrollable. To gain some order, an anorexic feels the need to control his or her weight to control the body.

Internal Stress

Anorexia is most commonly experienced during adolescent years, when a young man or woman may feel that he or she does not have a place in the world. This person may feel that he or she is not trying hard enough to find his or her place in the world.

Need for Acceptance

Because our culture judges weight harshly, adolescents are often conscious of their own bodies and desire to fulfill the desired image. This, combined with low self-esteem, can lead to anorexia.

Women and young girls are especially vulnerable here, as growing media influence increases the pressure to abide by a specific, unattainable beauty standard.

Sexual Abuse

Anorexia is not always about a desire to be thin, but to avoid the emotional consequences of previous sexual abuse. Many experts studying the field of eating disorders link this, as well as depression, to the development of anorexia.

Source: Mirror Mirror Eating Disorders

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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