Bulimia Causes

While there does not seem to be any true bulimia causes there are plenty of theories that seem to lend some credence as to why some people become bulimic and others do not. The causes of bulimia nervosa tend to be the result of several different factors coming together. These can be chemical and environmental, as well as genetic, particularly when a tendency towards addiction is present. It has also been proven that sexual abuse can be a significant factor in developing bulimia.

Bulimia may be an eating disorder but it is more than just a problem with food. A binge can be triggered by many things such as stress, dieting, sadness, anger, or anxiety. Purging is the way that people with bulimia attempt to ease their anxiety and stress. There may be no definitive bulimia causes but there are some factors that can serve as the trigger to a binge and purge episode.

Some Causes of Bulimia

Culture can play a large part in whether or not someone will develop bulimia. For example, women in the United States are bombarded with images of the “ideal” or “perfect” woman, and these women are always thin. Seeing this often enough can make it difficult for an ordinary woman to ever see herself as beautiful. Men are even starting to suffer from the same sort of self- image problems as women.

Low self-esteem is a major factor when it comes to developing bulimia and is one of the causes of bulimia. There is little wonder that people who see themselves as worthless and unattractive are at high risk. Growing up and living in an environment conducive to abuse, criticism, pushing for perfection and depression can contribute to people becoming bulimic.

Dieting can actually be one of the bulimia causes. This happens because dieting too much can lead to developing an eating disorder. Drastic dieting can bring about the deprivation that may be a trigger to binge eating. Once this happens it’s not much of a stretch to the binge and purge cycle.

Eating disorders tend to run in families, and this suggests a genetic involvement. Many people who are bulimic have mothers or sisters who also have bulimia. Someone with parents who over-value looks and judge the way their children look are more likely to develop bulimia or some other eating disorder. These types of parents definitely belong on the list of causes of bulimia. There is also research that shows low levels of serotonin may play a part.

Major life changes are often one of the bulimia causes. Episodes can be triggered by stressful situations such as relocating or the end of a relationship. The binge and purge cycle can be a way to try to handle the stresses these events bring. Traumatic events such as rape can also be a trigger.

People who are in professions or activities that require an attractive appearance may become bulimic. Professions such as ballet dancers, gymnasts, models, actors, wrestlers, or runners are at high risk of developing bulimia.

Are You Bulimic?

If you are concerned that you may be bulimic or be at risk for developing bulimia, there are some ways to tell. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you tend to obsess about your body appearance and your weight?
  • Is your life dominated by food and dieting?
  • Do you worry that if you start eating, you won’t be able to stop?
  • How often do you eat until you feel ill?
  • After eating, do you feel ashamed, depressed, or guilty?
  • Do you use laxatives or vomit for weight control?

Obviously, the more questions that you answer yes to, the higher your risk. However, if you are able to think clearly enough to answer these questions honestly, and investigate if you are experiencing any of the bulimia causes, you have a real chance of avoiding this disorder.

Pay close attention to the causes of bulimia and do research if you feel that you, or someone you care about, may be in trouble. A visit to your family doctor is always the best place to begin if you have any doubts. However, you should do your homework ahead of time and know the right questions to ask.


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