This is a very difficult question to answer and many researchers and scientists are still learning so much about these complicated disorders BUT we do know it is rarely about the food or wanting to be thin. What? Yes, that’s right, there are many misconceptions about what causes an eating disorder in our society and they really are caused by a combination of factors including genetic, psychological, biochemical, cultural, and environmental.
Eating disorders are complex and complicated and should be taken very seriously as they have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness, according to the American Journal of Psychiatry. For example, one shocking statistic is that 20% of people suffering from anorexia will die prematurely from complications of their eating disorder, including suicide and heart problems! Yikes! So, what can we do about that?
Let’s begin by stating what we do know right now. People with eating disorders tend to use food and the control of food to cope with overwhelming thoughts and feelings. For some individuals, dieting, bingeing and purging may begin as a way to cope with painful emotions and to feel in control of one’s life without realizing the damage they are creating to their physical and emotional health. People just don’t choose to have an eating disorder and you can’t tell if someone has one just by looking at them so we need to look at specific factors that contribute to them. Here are a few to be aware of:
Eating disorders are complex and something to take very seriously. Once started, the disorder can create a self-perpetuating cycle of physical and mental destruction. Successful treatment of eating disorders requires professional help. A large part of my practice is helping those with eating disorders and something I specialize in. Contact me at the Carlsbad Counseling Center (619)431-1842 to see how I can help you or someone you know get out of the grasp of an eating disorder.
Deborah is a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist who is passionate about helping people discover their true, authentic self.
Deborah is licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist #94438 through the California Board of Behavioral Sciences.