Have you ever wondered what caused your eating disorder? Or if you’re a parent of a child with an eating disorder maybe you wonder if you’re to blame. During a recent episode of Desperate Housewives Lisa Rinna’s daughter came forward with her struggle with anorexia. Rinna responded by stating “You know, it’s, like, ‘What did we do to f–k her up?’ Maybe we did something,” “I don’t know. I just know that it’s really, really hard to watch Amelia be in pain.”
Any parent or loved one who has gone through can relate to Rinna’s feelings. It’s natural as parents to wonder “did I cause this?’ The reality is that no single things can cause an eating disorder. Most experts agree that multiple factors coming together are what cause an eating disorder. Those factors are;
- Genetics studies have shown that personality traits such as perfectionism or anxiety are linked to eating disorders.
- Trauma & Big Life Changes this can include things like parents divorcing or changing schools for kids or traumas such as physical, emotional or sexual abuse.
- Culture (including media) All of our cultural attitudes about dieting, what “ideal” bodies look like and how our culture views being thin and “attractive” as a status symbol all impact body image. For some folks, exposure to media can make them more vulnerable to lower self-esteem, poorer body image and high risk of developing an eating disorder.
- Family & Friends Body & Food Attitudes Parental attitudes may have a large impact on how children view their own bodies. Since our parents are our first role models our parents liking or not liking their bodies, their attitudes about food and how they talk to and about themselves can all have a big impact on our body image.
There’s no known “cause” of eating disorders but most experts agree that a combo of some or all of these factors coming together is what puts a person at risk for developing an eating disorder. If you think that you or someone you love is at risk for developing an eating disorder please check on my “info for families” or “info for individuals” page. I know this can be scary stuff but we’ve got lots of resources and support for you.
I’d love to hear your comments or questions below, or feel free to shoot me an e-mail!