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Causes of Eating Disorders

Our culture, with its fascination with skinniness and achieving the perfect body, has cultivated the progression and causes of eating disorders. An eating disorder is a constant disease where an individual refuses to eat food in order to gratify a physic need and not a physical requirement. The development and causes eating disorders can lead to severe medical condition and can sometimes lead to death.

Many women suffer from eating disorders although many remain undiagnosed as the result of unreported cases, secrecy and the ease of deniability associated with eating disorders. In many studies it shows that women suffer mostly from eating disorders, although there are many men that also suffer. The causes of eating disorders are common problems faced by many men and women in every society.

An eating disorder can be life threatening and is a neurotic condition distinguished by abnormal eating habits and patterns. Eating disorder behaviors are most often derived from some unresolved emotional conflicts turned into altered food consumption, unlike typical dieters. The causes of eating disorders in women can stem from women who may have medical or psychological problems that can then cause abnormalities in eating practices. An eating disorder is an illness, not a form of dieting, and the causes of eating disorders are mostly due to the obsession with appearance and shame of their body. An illness such as an eating disorder is multi-dimensional with conditions that indicate a woman’s difficulty with identity, concept of self and self-esteem. Many of the causes of eating disorders can be related to how a person handles pressure and stress and are classified to start at the early age of 14. The causes of eating disorders do not rotate around food, but leans more towards the mental and emotional aspect as a woman may develop nonstandard eating habits as a way to cope with depression, anxiety, and problems.

The precise causes of eating disorders in women have yet to be accurately determined, but there are some characteristics that have a huge influence in their development. The causes of eating disorders are complex conditions caused by combinations of interpersonal, socio-cultural, genetic, and individual factors. The eating behaviors in all types of eating disorders are usually practiced as a way for a woman to overcome stress and other pressures she may be feeling, real or imagined. The causes of eating disorder are often surrounded by feelings of low self-worth and self-esteem, depression and lack of control.

A woman’s social surroundings, consisting of their family, friends and the media, can give emphasis to the importance of skinniness and weight control. The discussion of weight and dieting occurs on an abnormally regular basis in our society which could push a woman to be influenced to start dieting and could even normalize their perception to be thin. As well, the causes of eating disorders are prominent with women who are associated with families that have poor communication and support and lack of emotional bonding may suffer an eating disorder as a way to manage stress and depression. Women that are connected with family, friends or groups that highlight the importance of appearance also have a high chance of developing the illness of an eating disorder. Another cause of eating disorders are if a woman’s parents or guardian figures have a dysfunctional body image or dieting behavior, the woman could follow.

The glorification of skinniness has lead to a distorted body image and an impractical measure of beauty and success, a major cause of eating disorders in women. Magazines, televisions, movies and other influences of culture and media have severely increased the importance of a woman’s appearance and skinniness all leading to societies where body image and appearance are the main concerns. The beliefs of an adolescent girl and her self-esteem can being to consist largely, then, on their physical appearance, which can cause and eating disorder. Biology and genetics can also play a vital role in the causes of eating disorders although the strength of the causes is usually on the psychological aspects.

There are ways to treat the causes of eating disorders. The specific needs of the woman suffering from an eating disorder must be addressed in any treatment plan. The medical problems should first be addressed in the treatment of an eating disorder and then the client’s weight gain while addressing the potential mental, emotional, and psychological causes of their eating disorder. The main goal of any treatment for eating disorders is to eliminate any complications the patient may have, gradually having their weight gained to a healthy level and eliminating all inappropriate weight control behaviors. The treatment should also include individual counseling and psychotherapy in addition to working with a nutritionist. Treatment for eating disorders should provide a safe place to identify problems and learn new behaviors to help overcome their problems. Different types of individual therapy can help the patient develop healthy ways of thinking and patterns of eating behaviors as well as coping with stress, anxiety, and depression.

Family therapy is also very important to treat the causes of eating disorders in women. Family therapy is useful in terms of providing information about the affected person’s eating disorder, assess the impact of the disorder on the family and help family members overcome any associated guilt. This can also improve communications and overall strengthens the families involved. Marital therapy is also important, if applicable. The objectives of marital therapy are to strengthen the relationship and help identify and resolve communication issues that might be going on. Group therapy is another effective tool and type of therapy which can play a role in the treatment of a woman with an eating disorder in any sort of treatment facility, such as Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women located in Southern California. Safe Harbor offers different treatment groups with different goals and orientations. Some of Safe Harbor’s groups focus on food, eating, body image, and interpersonal skills while other groups are aimed at addictions and psychological factors.