The causes of anorexia are complex and not always the same for each individual, in fact it is often a combination of factors that can cause the condition.
The causes of anorexia can be psychological, stemming from the way that a person thinks. They can be environmental, often coming from the way that a culture perceives size. The causes can also be biological, hunger and malnutrition effecting the way that the brain works.
Biological Causes of Anorexia
- Anorexia often starts in puberty. During this time the body goes through some enormous changes. These changes are caused by hormones flooding the brain. These hormones help boys and girls develop quickly into young men and women. The hormones don’t always have a positive effect and can be problematic, particularly for girls who tend to suffer from anorexia far more than boys. The hormones can cause anxiety and stress which can spark great feelings of insecurity and self-doubt.
- The cycle of hunger has an effect on the way the brain functions. This in turn can actually make anorexia worse. There can also be chemical imbalances in the brain that effect the way that the brain process appetite and the need to eat. The signals that the brain gives the stomach and vice versa can get jumbled causing a feeling of self-loathing or guilt after eating.
Environmental Causes of Anorexia
- Celebrity culture and the pressure to be thin can be one of the common causes of anorexia. Particularly in Western cultures, being thin is considered attractive and desirable. Celebrities are criticised heavily in the media if they put on weight and they will receive negative press. Extreme diets are always being discussed in newspapers and magazines and given positive press. If a person already has feelings of guilt and anxiety, environmental pressure to be thin can cause great damage.
- Other environmental causes of anorexia include events like a bereavement or losing a job.Bullying, difficult relationships or abuse can all cause feelings of inadequacy and self-loathing that can in turn trigger anorexia.
Psychological Causes of Anorexia
- We all have differences in the way that we think and the way that we feel. These can make some people more prone to developing a condition such as anorexia. Striving for perfection is a psychological trait that can trigger anorexia cycles. Often someone with the condition will set themselves very strict rules or goals that will cause anxiety. If they don’t meet these goals then they will suffer feelings of guilt which will self-perpetuate the cycle. Suffering from depression or stress is also one of the common causes of anorexia.