What Causes Bulimia



Many people wonder what causes bulimia and the fact of the matter is, bulimia causes are often a mystery. There are number of things which may contribute to the development of bulimia, at least in some cases, but the exact bulimia causes in a particular case are very difficult and often impossible to determine.



What Causes Bulimia?

Genetic factors – It is believed that there is a genetic component to bulimia.

Mental illness – Mental illnesses like major depression, bipolar disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and other anxiety disorders may contribute to the development of bulimia.

Poor self-esteem – People that suffer from poor self-esteem for any reason may be more susceptible to eating disorders like bulimia.

Childhood sexual abuse – While not all victims of childhood sexual abuse develop bulimia and not all people that suffer from bulimia were sexually abused as children, experts in the field of eating disorders have noted a definite correlation between the two.

Substance abuse – Substance abuse does not always lead to bulimia either, but experts have also noted a correlation between those two things and they have also found that people that suffer from both bulimia and alcohol or drug addiction face the most difficult time recovering.

Dieting – It has been noted that as many as 25 percent of people that diet regularly go on to develop eating disorders. There is nothing inherently wrong with someone dieting to lose weight if they are in fact overweight, but many young girls diet even when they don’t need to lose weight and many take things too far and develop unhealthy eating habits that go on to become full-blown eating disorders.

The media – When looking at what causes bulimia, it is important to examine environmental factors. Many experts believe the unnaturally thin people commonly portrayed in the popular media contribute to the development of eating disorders like bulimia. Viewers may not realize that these images are unrealistic and may try to make themselves look like the fashion models they see.

Family environment – It was once believed that the family environment was a significant factor in what causes bulimia but most experts no longer believe this to be the case. Still, it is known that those that grow up in a family where someone else has an eating disorder or where thinness is praised and appearance is heavily valued are at increased risk for bulimia and other eating disorders.

Peer pressure – Peers may encourage each other to strive for thinness and if some members of the peer group engage in self-induced vomiting to stay thin, that may encourage other members of the group to do the same.

Major life changes – Major life changes certainly do not lead to bulimia in all people but they may trigger the disorder in people that are already susceptible to eating disorders. Examples of major life changes include the loss of a job, the breakup of a relationship or starting college. These events are not necessarily bulimia causes, but may simply trigger the disorder in those already at risk or intensify the disorder in those already engaging in some unhealthy eating behaviors.

Appearance-oriented vocations – People in certain jobs are at increased risk for bulimia, including fashion models, gymnasts, dancers and other celebrities and sports figures.

It should be noted that there are no bulimia causes that cause the disorder in everyone that experiences that one thing. It’s very much an individual thing. Different people react differently to the same set of circumstances. However, these bulimia causes often work together to trigger the onset of the disorder in many people. When asking what causes bulimia in a person, it’s important to examine all the possible factors.






More than what causes bulimia on our effects of eating disorders page

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