Eating Disorders: Causes and Treatments

causes of eating disorders

Latest reports are showing that there is an increasing number of individuals that are suffering from eating disorders. The National Institute of Mental Health in the United States estimates that about 5 to 10 million girls and women are suffering from eating disorders. About 1 million men and boys are not free from these dietary conditions.

There are different causes or reasons associated with or linked to eating disorders. It could be biological or genetic. There are studies showing that if there is an anorexic member of the family, there is about 4 times more likely that another family member would suffer from it too. It could also be brought about by abnormal genes like Prader-Willi syndrome which is characterized by insatiable hunger and delayed physical and mental development.

It could also be because of restrictive eating. For example, parents or individuals who force themselves to give up or restrict their diet could actually lead to binge eating or overeating. Aside from that, putting too much value or importance on physical appearance, especially from parents, could also lead to eating disorders.

Another great influence on how people perceive their body and what is beautiful is by culture or mass media. Mass media have long portrayed women to be thin to be described as attractive or beautiful. These unrealistic expectations would eventually push women to use drastic methods to reach them. This would impart the idea that these drastic measures are normal.

There are many treatment methods or strategies that could be done. For anorexia, for example, patients would have to undergo three phases: restoring weight loss, psychological treatment, and long-term remission or rehabilitation. Treatments, like these, are very important for eating disorder patients which is why it is absolutely important that consulting or getting professional help is first on the list.

For binge eaters, a method would be establishing non-binge meals and improving attitudes related to eating disorders. It would also include participating in healthy but not excessive exercise and other healthy activities.

People who are suffering from eating disorders think that what they are doing is part of the normal activities. So, they do not know that they are sick. Failure to recognize that they are ill could cause severe problems in the long run. If they fail to see that what they are doing is wrong could lead to resistance if we recommend or encourage them to get treatment. This is why it is important to give them all the support that they could positively need to achieve long-term and permanent rehabilitation.