People commonly misperceive that individuals with eating disorders are “vain” or that eating disorders are all about wanting to look thin like models in the magazines. However, the reality is that eating disorders are caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. — Jennifer Rollin MSW, LCSW-C
About 67% of individuals with eating disorders also have some type of anxiety disorder, the most common being mental illnesses. Those suffering from anxiety often have low self-esteem and body image issues, making it easier for them to be susceptible to eating disorders and unhealthy eating practices.
Eating Disorders as Harmful Coping Mechanisms
Anxiety disorders often cause individuals to try to and find coping mechanisms that can help them to handle the symptoms and feelings they have. However, a lot of the most common coping mechanisms aren’t healthy. In fact, some can worsen symptoms or create additional disorders altogether. A lot of those with an anxiety and eating disorder usually develop their eating habits in an attempt to cope with their anxiety.
Sometimes attitudes and behaviors emerge in response to the overwhelming despair and hopelessness that accompanies watching a loved one starving herself/himself. — Judy Scheel Ph.D., L.C.S.W., CEDS
Unfortunately, harmful coping mechanisms affect the individual much more as time goes on. In this attempt to cope, the guilt and anxiety worsen. For those with bulimia and other purging related disorders, the guilt follows an alleviation of anxiety that had been lifted after purging, binging and purging, and other practices. The guilt and anxiety that follow purging are almost always much worse than before. More purging occurs in an effort to mitigate the feelings of sadness and guilt. It works for a short time, but then the cycle repeats itself.…Read More