An eating disorder typically develops as a means of coping with issues that are triggered in one’s life, usually in childhood years. Before describing the most common causes of eating disorders, it’s important to first identify common types of eating disorders.
Types of Eating Disorders
The most common form of eating disorder is compulsive eating disorder, also known as binge eating disorder (BED). This is when a person consumes large quantities of food, to the point of feeling uncomfortably full. The majority of people with BED are overweight or obese, but not everyone falls in this category. People with high metabolisms or who are very physically active can also suffer from compulsive eating disorder.
Often people who struggle with compulsive eating disorder and excess weight started out with other types of eating disorders. Many clients who come to us wanting to stop emotional eating with eating disorder therapy tell us that earlier in their lives they were hospitalized for anorexia. They were able to restrict their food intake as teenagers, but at some point began to binge and lose control of their food consumption.
Many anorexics turn to bulimia as a means of controlling the effects of their high caloric binges. Unfortunately, purging one’s food doesn’t always ensure weight control. Many bulimics cannot control their weight in spite of their extreme efforts and end up overweight. Even if they manage to stop the purging behavior they typically can’t stop the bingeing, and they continue to struggle with their weight, and with binge eating disorder, throughout their adult life.
Common Causes of Eating Disorders
There are many different causes of eating disorders, but the following five are the most common for people seeking eating disorder treatment:
- Childhood Trauma: When a child experiences trauma such as sexual abuse or a raging, alcoholic parent, they cannot effectively process their emotions associated with that experience so they medicate their feelings, often choosing excess food, or restriction of food, as their form of medication. Furthermore, deforming one’s body, either by gaining or losing weight, is an unfortunate but typical response to unwanted sexual advances that a child has little ability to defend against.
- Fear of Expressing Oneself: A very typical trait among people with eating disorders of any kind is a real reluctance and fear of using one’s voice to express one’s feelings. Knowing how one feels about anything, and having the ability to communicate this to others, is an underdeveloped skill for those with eating disorders.
- History of anxiety: Those with eating disorders typically experience a heightened sense of anxiety. Such anxiety is often genetic, but regardless of its origin, nervousness and worry drive a person’s compulsion with food. This is one of the reasons that high carbohydrate foods, which are physically calming, and are often the mainstay of a binger’s diet.
- Loneliness: Lack of emotional connection plagues people with eating disorders. They crave closeness with friends, family and romantic partners, but are unable to achieve this, and even subconsciously reject the opportunity for closeness. Self-destruction with food fills the void left by emotional isolation.
- Self-obsession: The outstanding characteristic of practically every person struggling with an eating disorder is self-obsession. An acute focus on one’s own feelings, one’s appearance, how one is perceived in the world, etc. consumes one’s thought life, thus exacerbating the sense of isolation, rejection, and self-loathing.
Eating Disorder Recovery
Eating disorder recovery is possible if a person addresses the underlying causes of the eating disorder. Facing the pain of one’s past, developing self-confidence and self-esteem, adopting a meditation practice to decrease stress and anxiety, connecting on an emotional level with people who have experienced and overcome the same problems, and finding productive ways to get out of one’s own headspace, such as doing various kinds of service for others, are all ways that those seeking eating disorder recovery can find peace. Daily action to learn and grow emotionally will pay great dividends of health and healing.
Your Eating Disorder Recovery Can Begin Today With The Nelson Method
The Nelson Method will provide you with the opportunity to liberate yourself from the negative and destructive habits that are behind your eating disorder. Each stage of the holistic healing process in instrumental for your recovery. The first step involves identifying the problem followed by a personal discovery exploration and a release of the negative energy. Then the real healing begins when you shift your consciousness towards a new pattern of healthy living. The Nelson Method is designed for those struggling with addictions to understand their own “soul sickness” and learn how to achieve total freedom from it.
If you, or a loved one, are suffering from an eating disorder and/or other addictions and are ready to begin your healing journey, please call us at 800-609-4061 for more information regarding The Nelson Method – 28 Days to Freedom. You’ll be glad you did!