Each year, thousands of teens develop eating disorders, or problems with weight, eating, or body image.
Eating disorders are complex illnesses with a genetic component that can be affected by a wide variety of biological and environmental variables. Eating disorders include a range of conditions that involve an obsession with food, weight and appearance.
It is estimated that over 10 million people in the United States suffer from eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder, and the statistics are growing.
Research on the causes of eating disorders is constantly evolving, and we continue to gain increased insight into risk factors that may contribute to the illness. However, the answers remain multi-factorial, and they reflect a complex combination of biopsychosocial factors that may intersect differently for each person.
Several major risk factors for eating disorders are outlined below.
Genetics Increasing numbers of family, twin, and adoption research studies have provided compelling evidence to show that genetic factors contribute to a predisposition for eating disorders.
This also means that eating disorders are heritable. Individuals who have had a family member with an eating disorder are times more likely to develop one themselves.
Newer research is exploring a possible epigenetic influence on eating disorder development. Epigenetics is a process by which environmental effects alter the way genes are expressed.
Temperament Some of the genes that have been identified to contribute to eating disorders are associated with specific personality traits. These aspects of personality are thought to be highly heritable and often exist before the eating disorder and can persist after recovery.
Additionally, brain imaging studies have shown that people with eating disorders may have altered brain circuitry that contributes to eating disorders. Problems with the serotonin pathway have also been discovered. Trauma Traumatic events such as physical or sexual abuse sometimes precipitate the development of an eating disorder.
In some cases, the eating disorder is an expression of self-harm or misdirected self-punishment for the trauma. Coping Skill Deficits Individuals with eating disorders are often lacking the skills to tolerate negative experiences.
Behaviors such as restricting, purging, bingeing and excessive exercise often develop in response to emotional pain, conflict, low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, stress or trauma.
In the absence of more positive coping skills, the eating disorder behaviors may provide acute relief from distress but quickly lead to more physical and psychological harm.
Instead of helping, the eating disorder behaviors only serve to maintain a dangerous cycle of emotional dysregulation and numbing feelings. Effective treatment for the eating disorder involves education about and practice of alternative coping mechanisms and self-soothing techniques such as in Dialectic Behavior Therapy.
Ina researcher documented the response of adolescents in rural Fiji to the introduction of western television. This landmark study illustrated a vulnerability to the images and values imported with media.
Dieting Dieting is the most common precipitating factor in the development of an eating disorder. Restrictive dieting is not effective for weight loss and is an unhealthy behavior for anyone, especially children and adolescents. For individuals who are genetically predisposed to eating disorders, dieting can be the catalyst for heightened obsessions about weight and food.
Dieting also intensifies feelings of guilt and shame around food which may ultimately contribute to a cycle of restricting, purging, bingeing or excessive exercise. More worrisome though is that dieting is associated with higher rates of depression and eating disorders and increased health problems related to weight cycling.
Intuitive eating and the health-at-every size paradigms are recommended as alternatives to diets for people looking to improve their health and overall well-being. As more research is done on the diverse contributing factors discussed above, it becomes more and more clear that this is not the case.
While stressful or chaotic family situations may intersect with other triggers to exacerbate or maintain the illness, they do not cause eating disorders. The Academy of Eating Disorders AED released a position paper that clarifies the role of the family in the acquisition of eating disorders.
The paper points out that there is no data to support the idea that eating disorders are caused by a certain type of family dynamic or parenting style.
Alternatively, there is strong evidence families play an integral role in the recovery process. In particular, family-based treatment for younger patients, implemented early on in their illness, leads to positive results and improvements in conjunction with professionally guided family interventions.
The family is an integral system in the healthy development of a child. While parents and families are not to blame for eating disorders, they can play a role in helping kids establish a positive body image, healthy coping skills and eating competence which are all important protective factors against eating disorders.
The heritability of eating disorders:Anorexia and bulimia are both eating disorders.
They can have similar symptoms, such as distorted body image. However, they’re characterized by different food-related behaviors.
The Many Causes of Eating Disorders regardbouddhiste.com Staff Writer Anorexia and bulimia are very complicated disorders, and different people can develop different types of eating disorders . Two main diagnoses of eating disorders.
1. anorexia nervosa 2. bulimia nervosa. 2 types of Anorexia Nervosa. 1. Restricting type Factors that cause eating disorders-psychological problems (ego, cognitive, and mood disturbances) Difference between Binge Eating Disorder and Bulimia Nervosa. Risk factors for all eating disorders involve a range of biological, psychological, and sociocultural issues.
These factors may interact differently in different people, so two people with the same eating disorder can have very diverse perspectives, experiences, and symptoms. bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, or OSFED. If you or a loved one are suffering from this eating disorder, seek professional treatment for eating disorders.
Major Types of Bulimia. There are two common types of bulimia nervosa, which are as follows: Purging type – This type of bulimia nervosa accounts for the majority of . This articles describes 6 of the most common eating disorders and their symptoms. ARFID is an eating disorder that causes people to undereat.
This is either due to a lack of interest in food.