Causes of Eating Disorders

Approximately 10 million adolescents and adults in the United States suffer from eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, overeating and obesity, or compulsive exercising.

Eating disorders are mental illnesses caused by numerous factors. They can impair normal functioning, hinder mental health and present significant health risks. They often co-occur with other mental disorders, such as depression. Lindner Center of HOPE can help.

A variety of possible genetic, medical, psychological and environmental factors can influence eating disorders. They may include:

  • Genetic (or hereditary) factors
  • Neurochemical differences
  • Biologic changes that occur secondary to weight loss and malnutrition
  • Individuals with certain temperament or personality features, such as perfectionism and obsessionality, may be more susceptible to developing eating disorders.
  • Conflicting social messages about nutrition and extreme thinness can influence the development and treatment of eating disorders.