Eating disorders arise from a combination biological, sociocultural, and/or psychological factors.
- Relatives with eating disorders or other mental illness. Studies have shown that having a first degree relative (like a parent or sibling) or a distinct family history of eating disorders, anxiety, depression, and addiction increases an individual’s risk for developing an eating disorder.
- Female. Although people of any gender identification can develop an eating disorder, females have higher rates of developing an eating disorder.
- LGBTQ+. Those who identify as non-heterosexual or not cis-gender face higher risks of eating disorders due to discrimination and body image distress.
- Athletes. Participating in sports, particularly those which emphasize appearance and leanness, such as gymnastics, dance, and running, can increase body focus and dissatisfaction which can lead to disordered eating behaviors.
- Type 1 Diabetes. Research has shown that about 25% of women diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (Insulin Dependent) will develop an eating disorder. (See Diabulimia)
- Depression, anxiety, OCD, and other mental illnesses often occur in tandem with eating disorders and can be the root cause of conditions like bulimia and anorexia
- History of dieting. Having dieted or experienced weight fluctuations (yo-yo dieting) can biologically lead to eating disorders such as binge eating.
- Trauma. Both big “T” trauma (abuse, violence, or injury) and little “t” trauma (divorce, loss of a loved one, and other distressing events) can lead to the development of an eating disorder as a coping strategy.
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