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9 Root Causes Eating Disorders

9 Root Causes Eating Disorders

9 Origins of Eating Disorders

If you want to learn why you have an eating disorder, this article is for you.

As a Holistic Wellness Coach and clinician of more than 10 years, I’ve seen clients with eating disorders. We’ve taken deep dives into their roots and I’ll tell you that healing was incredibly fruitful.

I’ll share with you 9 causes of eating disorders, as well as how you can get better.

What are the causes of eating disorders?

Eating disorders are caused by molecular genetics, family dynamics, toxic culture of society, childhood trauma, poor self-esteem, perfectionism, emotional dysregulation, anxiety, depression, and disgust sensitivity.

Eating disorders encompass more than just food.

This mental health issue has many origins that we will explore in this article.

#1 Genetics

Long before you’re born and exposed to the world, one factor makes you vulnerable to eating disorders.

It's your heredity.

If you have the gene mutations called ESRRA and HDAC4, you’re more likely to develop an eating disorder.

#2 Family

Family dynamics also play a crucial role.

If you grew up in a dysfunctional family system, you’re more prone to developing an eating disorder.

Here are some factors that have a huge impact.

  • Emotional neglect

  • Treated as the family scapegoat

  • Exposed to marital conflict

  • Constantly shamed as a kid

  • Had overprotective and controlling parents

  • Expected to fulfill your parent’s dreams

  • Parent felt envious of your traits

  • Rarely talked to about life-changing events (ex: divorce, death, etc.)

  • Weren’t allowed to make mistakes and learn

  • Couldn’t express negative emotions.

  • Forced to be perfect all the time

  • Parents had unresolved trauma themselves

#3 Culture

Societal expectations also influence eating disorders.

The media and our culture put a heavy emphasis on thinness. Even sports require a certain body type.

They make you feel like being skinny was equal to being beautiful, successful, and accepted.

But, these are all unrealistic standards. Models and celebrities often undergo surgery or have their images edited.

#4 Trauma

If you experienced trauma as a child, this is also a cause of an eating disorder.

In this case, your illness is only a symptom of your unhealed developmental wounds. Here are different types of trauma that lead to it.

  • Grief

  • Bullying

  • Sexual assault

  • Physical abuse

  • Refugee trauma

  • Natural disasters

  • Medical trauma

#5 Low self-esteem

When heredity, dysfunctional family systems, toxic culture, and trauma are combined, it can lead to low self-worth.

As a child, you’re dependent on people around you.

You also assume that everyone else is right because you’re too young to decipher right from wrong.

Unhealthy beliefs into your mind.

It can make you believe that if you’re not thin, no one would want you. This leads us to the next number which is perfectionism.

#6 Perfectionism

If you have an eating disorder, you want to become perfect.

And, there’s actually a dark reason behind that.

You believe that you aren’t good enough, meaning you suffer from low self-esteem.

Don’t get me wrong.

Striving for excellence is a good thing. We all want to become the best version of ourselves.

But, you should be gentle and practice self-acceptance.

Trying to be thin despite paying the price for eating disorders is unhealthy.

#7 Emotional dysregulation

Knowing how to manage your emotions is learned from childhood.

But, if you’ve had dismissive and emotionally unavailable parents, you’re in trouble. You don’t have the resources to be resilient.

That’s why you cope by eating.

#8 Anxiety and/or depression

If you have anxiety and/or depression, you’re twice as likely to develop an eating disorder.

This is linked to your genes, experiences, personality, and upbringing.

You try to feel good through binge eating or limiting food intake.

But, these are self-destructive behaviors.

It’ll only lead to a loop of negative feelings and bad coping mechanisms.

#9 Disgust sensitivity

As for the last item on this list, I’ll talk about disgust.

If you’re sensitive to this emotion, you’re susceptible to eating disorders.

Disgust sensitivity mainly comes from two things: food and body image.

Just because you have an eating disorder, does not mean that this is the way you have to live for the rest of your life. Please seek professional life. In my career, I have helped individuals with eating disorders and seen them heal and live truely transformed lifes. We will be dealing with how to heal from eating disoders in another article.

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