We may never know what triggers an eating disorder but there is a common theme linking low self esteem with an eating disorder. It could be that things are going wrong for someone and they feel they have no control over issues in their life, they therefore take control of something by taking control over their food, starting to evaluate themselves through body weight and shape.

Below are a few of the triggers that may be the cause of someone developing an eating disorder.

  • The young person not wanting to grow up ? What would growing up mean? Taking responsibility, dealing with relationships, being a young person in an adult world. Looking for employment the pressure to succeed and in some case living up to others people’s expectations.
  • The pressure to be perfect is massive and nothing short of perfect will do. In truth they are chasing the impossible because nothing will ever be good enough for them, because no one is perfect and their standard are so high they will never be satisfied that what they have produced is good enough!
  • It could be the breakup of a relationship or the death of a loved one
  • It could be divorce or loss of a job
  • It could be money problems
  • Leaving home ? starting University being independent for the first time in their life.(see a Guide for University Students and Eating Disorders)
  • Often people feel media are the cause of an eating disorder. Perhaps people do aspire to those people of celebrity status, or the model with the “perfect” stick thin figure. Do you know that what you see is not always what you get? Check out the video above. There is no wonder our perception of beauty is distorted.
  • It could be bullying or not feeling like you fit in with peers.
  • It could be abuse. Abuse happens in many different way:-
    • Mental Abuse where someone bullies and belittles someone making them feel insecure and lacking in confidence.
    • Physical Abuse where by someone is beaten or injured in some way
    • Sexual Abuse ? well we all know so much more about that since the floodgates opened with people coming forward years after the abuse seeking support for sexual abuse that happened in their past. Yes sexual abuse does happen and that is very sad indeed. But not all people who develop eating disorders have been abused

It is a MYTH that parents cause eating disorders, yes we may not always get things right, but parents, Mum in particular, are often made to feel it is somehow their fault as they are desperate to find a reason. Don’t become fixated on the reason, concentrate on supporting in the best possible way you can.

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