Eating Disorder Causes

free essayEating disorders have widely been focused on in the research studies because of their prevalence and diagnosing since early childhood or even infancy (Bryant-Waugh, Markham, Kreipe, & Walsh, 2010). Between 0.3% and 0.9% of the young adult and the adolescent populations in the U. S. have treatment with anorexia nervosa, about 5% are diagnosed with bulimia nervosa, and about 3.5% – with binge eating disorder (Hudson, Hiripi, Pope, & Kessler, 2007). According to the manual of American Psychiatric Association (2000), those not fitting the criteria for anorexia, bulimia or binge are treated as having atypical conditions that conform with other specified feeding or rather eating disorder.

To compare people with eating disorders and those without, 277 individuals had participation in an open-ended questionnaire. There were 243 females and 43 males, and their age range was from 18 to 51 years. A mandatory question in the questionnaire was if one has currently or was subjected to eating disorders previously. The expectation from the participants as per the question was to answer with; yes- currently, yes- in the past and no. The respondents who agreed were asked to specify the eating disorder they had and for how long. Those who had the eating disorder recorded were 57. Out of the 57, 26 had anorexia, 12 had bulimia, 11 had both anorexia and bulimia, and the other 8 had another eating disorder.

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The result table had a citation of the causes of eating disorders, and it had a coded category. For instance under the traumatic life events category, the listed causes were sexual assault, college entry, and abuse. Under family problems title, were comments from family, pressure from parents’ conversations about weight and need for praise. Under the Social title, the causes were pressure from peers, social isolation, bad romantic relationship or break-up and teasing. Under the psychological and emotional problems were treated stress, anxiety, depression, perfectionism, low esteem and anxiety. Under genetics and biology, the causes were a chemical imbalance in the brain and history of eating disorder in the family. For the media and culture ideals category, the responsible act was determinant to be from the thin ideal images and messages. From the sports and health category, gymnastics or dance, desire to be healthy, lack of knowledge about nutrition and exercise classes were the causes. Finally, the body image and eating had the following outcome: unhappiness with appearance distorted the image and the feeling overweight (Blodged Slafia et al., 2015).

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Under the comparison of individuals with and without the food disorders, authors found a significant difference between the two perceived causes of eating disorders. Those who did not have struggled from the disorder more likely believed in that media and cultural ideals influenced a lot in eating disorders (Blodged Slafia et al., 2015). On the contrary, those who previously and currently lived with the eating disorder specified these as the least perceived causes. In contrast, social problems were widely listed by participants with eating disorders and less frequently listed by those without disorders. The both groups listed the genetics events, and there were relatively low levels of endorsement for family problems, traumatic life events, sports, and health. In addition, the two groups highly endorsed emotional and psychological problems as the cause of eating disorders; an apparent stigma surrounding the emotional problems found among the non-disordered individuals (Blodged Slafia et al., 2015). In general, the entire causes of eating disorders fall under two main factors namely the individual and socio-cultural factors. The different elements comprise on the individuals body formation whereas the socio-cultural comprises of the outwards factors affecting the individual. An excellent example of the individual factors is genetics, where the hormones influence on one’s eating disorder. On the other hand, an example of a socio-cultural factor is the peer pressure, where peers influence on one’s eating disorder through their comments on thin body ideal.

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At the same time, there was a limitation of explorations in the study. The limitation was that the samples were relatively homogeneous groups regarding gender classification, so separate studies examining differences among women and men or various ethnic groups would not be conducted. Thus, a care should be taken in the generalization to males and females. Furthermore, no measurement scales were used, therefore eating disorder status determination was by self-report hence was not clinically accurate.

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In conclusion, the results of the conducted research showed a lot of difference between the samples used; and the differences suggest that eating disorder education is a topic to be placed into consideration. Improvement of education programs will give the uninformed a greater understanding of how social, psychological and relational factors influence those with eating disorders (Myers, 2013). The results further suggest that education regarding the factors which cause the eating disorders is necessary because leads to the reduction of a stigma surrounding disease and highly aid the treatment process. Moreover, we need to increase opportunities for sharing the experience and perceptiveness for those who have been exposed and have lived with eating disorders. With the chance to provisions of first-hand knowledge, the individuals can be a perfect asset for professionals and researchers.

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