The Student Room Group

TW: What causes eating disorders?

I’m just curious, what can cause them?
Original post by Anon346775
I’m just curious, what can cause them?

Psychological factors:
Being vulnerable to depression and anxiety
Finding stress hard to manage
Worrying a lot about the future
Being a perfectionist
Controlling your emotions
Having obsessive or compulsive feelings
Fear of being labelled ‘fat’ or overweight

Environmental factors:
Pressure at school
Bullying or abuse
Criticism for your body shape or eating habits
Difficult family relationships
Having a job or hobby where being thin is seen as ideal

Genetic factors:
Changes in your brain or hormone levels
Family history of eating disorders, depression or substance misuse

Mental Health UK (2022). Causes of eating disorders - Mental Health UK. [online] Available at: <>.
Original post by Anon346775
I’m just curious, what can cause them?

I can't speak for everyone, and there's different types of eating disorders so there's not really one particular cause. But I had an eating disorder when I was 14-15 years old. At the time I didn't really know what caused my eating disorder but a few months ago (Now aged 21), I kinda dug back into my past and figured out what triggered my eating disorder and wrote quite a lot about it (journaling). My causes are very specific to myself and shouldn't be used as a generalisation for everyone, but do you want me to send what I wrote about the causes of my Eating Disorder?
Original post by Anon346775
I’m just curious, what can cause them?

Like with most mental problems, I think it varies per person. There are a range of different eating disorders and I think there can be different causes depending on which ED is it... I've had two (one was restrictive and the other was the complete opposite lmaooo) but I found that for the restrictive ed, body dysmorphia plays a HUGE role. You never see yourself as slim enough or good-looking which is why it becomes dangerous as you try to strive for an unachieveable perfection. Another factor would be comments about appearance. Whether jokingly or not, someone who already has body dysmorphia will believe what someone else says about them even if it was a joke. Another really sad causation of a restrictive ed is social media and models etc. Especially recently, I've found lots of social media content romanticising eds. Eating disorders often start as an intention to 'become healthier' but then it becomes an obsession to become even more 'healthier' so you spend more time exercising and less time eating until things swing out of proportion and you don't realise you've ended up in an ed. No one wakes up and decides to have an ed. And you never realise you truly have an ed until you've recovered from it.
As for the non-restrictive ed, I found the cause of it was a follow-up of the restrictive ed. I had completely lost a healthy relationship with eating and had no hunger cues (i.e. I didn't know when I was hungry and when I was full) and so I found myself overeating emotionally or out of boredom and eating as a coping mechanism. I'm still trying to recover from this ed XD

Anyways, I hope I didn't bore you with all that! If you have any more questions, feel free to ask :smile: And as I mentioned before, everyone's experience is different so I don't expect everyone to have the same response I've had
Well, eating disorders aren't specifically to do with the body, they are often to do with the mind as well. A person who may be distressed that they cannot control anything in their life might decide to control their eating. Someone with body dysmorphic disorder where they feel they are too fat may develop anorexia. It may be a form of self harm as they may think they don't deserve to eat. A cheerleader may develop anorexia as they have specific body types that they need to conform to. These examples are just anorexia but there are more, a person with autism may have ARFID (avoidant restrictive food intake disorder) as they can only tolerate certain textures or tastes of food. Someone with mineral deficiencies may develop pica as symptoms of mineral deficiencies often include cravings. There are many causes for many different ED's and each should be taken seriously.

For me, my bulimic tendencies were caused by wanting to be thin, but being unable to give up food because my parents would notice and because i frequently binged at night. I still struggle with the urges but am 4 months clean! I recommend getting help, even if its from friends because they helped me through a lot and without them I would've been in a long term ED clinic.

Stay safe :biggrin:
Reply 5
You could have asked your doctor or therapist. However...
My ED was caused by trauma

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