Causes

There is no conclusive evidence that poor parenting or negative experiences with eating are the single cause of the disorder. Rather there is an array of risk factors -- psychological, familial and sociocultural. Youngsters who develop Anorexia are more likely to come from families with a history of weight problems, physical illnesses, depression and alcoholism. For the person with Anorexia, restricted calorie intake may be accompanied by a feeling similar to the high induced by a release of opioids, a brain chemical. Youngsters who develop Bulimia are more likely to have a close family relative with the disorder, suggesting a biochemical predisposition or cause. The neurochemical serotonin has been implicated in the diagnosis of bulimia. Although a genetic factor may render a youngster prone to an eating disorder, other contributants, such as depression, peer pressure, unrealistic images in the media, abuse, overcritical and rejecting parents, or the use of food to show love, can all lead to or exacerbate the problem