The various psychological factors that cause eating disorders

There are different kinds of eating disorders — Anorexia, Binge eating, Bulimia nervosa, Pica, etc

Rajshree Vora | Updated on: Sunday, May 01, 2022, 01:41 PM IST


Last week, we dived into the world of eating disorders. There are various kinds of eating disorders — Anorexia, Binge eating, Bulimia nervosa, Pica, etc. They are said to be more prevalent in teenagers and women. Hormonal changes during growing up years make youngsters more conscious about their appearance. They want to look good and often cave in to peer pressure to maintain a certain body type. To achieve the perfect physique, they resort to extreme diets, which causes more harm than good. Men, too, succumb to eating disorders, but it is comparatively less and often goes undiagnosed.

In fact, men are more prone to muscle dysmorphia, which is a psychopathological condition that influences their thoughts and behaviours. Men suffering from muscle dysmorphia are extremely conscious of their masculinity. They want to look more masculine, strong, and focus on increasing weight and muscle mass. This leads them to the path of diets to attain the ‘perfect’ look, and often take steroids and drugs, which can be dangerous. Some people take excessive protein and give up on carbs. This imbalance can be harmful for health in the long run. This is opposite to what women do: they like to remain slim.

There are professions that require an individual to look a certain way. For example, models, actors, athletes, TV anchors, etc., are more pressured to be be of a particular body type since they have to be in front of the camera. The stress that often comes with the demands of the professions makes people more vulnerable to eating disorders. Hence, it is important that you seek professional help if you notice a change in your eating patterns—be it eating more than usual or less.

Psychological factors

Exact cause of the eating disorder is not known. However, physical, mental, genetic, peer pressure or other factors can trigger it.

Some underlying psychological problems playing a role in eating disorders are:

1. Anxiety

2. Depression


3. Low self esteem

4. Fears

5. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

(The author is an obesity consultant, dietitian and nutritionist, Sujok therapist, counsellor, and a yoga therapist)


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Published on: Sunday, May 01, 2022, 01:41 PM IST