Eating Disorders

Eating Disorders are not only about food but affords us the opportunity to look inside ourselves at the underlying issues in our lives. There is no one cause for eating disorders. It is not about food, but about emotions.


Let me point out some possibilities:


It describes the forms of pressures we experience in life. It is not the stressor but rather your reaction that will determine your stress. Your reaction is determined by how you see things and your feelings about it. Our reactions are clouded by fear, hopelessness, anger and other emotions like greed and mistrust.

Family of origin and a history of abuse

Family dynamics play a role in body image issues. Family conflict and lack of affection are big culprits. Eating disordered families: alcoholism, impulsivity, obesity, enmeshment, hostility and parental rejection were reported. Sexual abuse is often a contributing factor.

Atypical depression

Depressed people who gain weight feel tired all the time; they crave carbs and could sleep for ever. You need to recognise this and get treatment with medication, supplements and psychotherapy.

Behaviour, personality and emotional preconditions

Interpersonal problems and the inability to handle conflict play a role. Passive aggressiveness is displayed. Negative self-evaluation and perfectionism play a role and negative body image issues are very dominant as is a negative low mood. Depression and anxiety are prevalent in patients. This illness is a multi-factorial and has a multi-determined aetiology.  Often it is the pain of not being good enough or loveable enough and the fear of rejection. Binge eaters in my PhD research were all anxious and had a desire to please others.


Food is often used to regulate emotions and cope with stress. Addiction is what happens in your body when food is used as a mood-altering substance. Addiction creates its own pain: shame and guilt are the companions of addiction. Often binge eaters also drink too much: this is normally a sign that addictive personality might be at play.

Culture or developmental causes

The theory is that from adolescence women are under pressure to lose weight. They often become trapped in a cycle of desperately wanting to diet, then losing control and end up binge eating and gaining weight. This cycle normally starts at around the age of 16.  Sexuality plays a role, for example, anorexics starve themselves as a response to sexuality. Low self-esteem normally is a result of failed dieting attempts, which leads to bingeing, which leads to obesity, which leads to dieting: a vicious cycle indeed!

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