Causes of Eating Disorders

In a previous post, we talked about how to spot eating disorders. Although it’s important to know what to look for if you suspect yourself or a loved one of having an eating disorder, it is just as important to understand the causes of eating disorders.

There are a variety of theories to explain what causes eating disorder including culture, family, psychological issues and biology. However, the development of an eating disorder may not be that simple. Researchers and scientists are starting to find that the development of eating disorders may be an attempt to solve complex emotional and psychological problems. Whatever the case, it is important to explore and understand the causes of each person to find the best treatment and recovery options.

Below are a couple of common causes of eating disorders.


Unfortunately, many women have a difficult time dealing with the paradox society has put us in. Mixed messages are everywhere. Most the women we see in magazines, billboards, TV, and movies look like thin goddesses. This leads us to believe that in order to be successful, well liked and attractive, we also need to be thin. However, we are surrounded by fast food and large portion sizes. Let’s be honest. Sometimes it’s just easier to go pick up a large pizza than to go home and cook a sensible meal. Because of this, some women choose to starve themselves, binge and purge, or over exercise to meet cultural and societal expectations.

Some subcultures such as dancers, models, actresses and runners also may succumb to eating disorders due to weight restrictions.

Low Self Esteem

Women with low self esteem feel they are of little of value and don’t think very highly of themselves. They may project these feelings of low self worth onto others. Because of this, they may develop an eating disorder to boost their self image and get others to think highly of them.


Some women develop eating disorders as a way to gain control over their lives. This can be especially true for women who were abused or in relationships where aspects of their lives were controlled by someone else.




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