There is no single cause of bulimia. A variety of biological, environmental, behavioral and genetic predisposing factors can trigger associated symptoms and behaviors. The origin of bulimia is rarely the same between two individuals.
Like anorexia, many cases are rooted in a person’s dissatisfaction with their appearance, weight or body, or a perceived failure to live up to societal standards. These views are often precipitated by low self-esteem and lack of self-worth.
Common contributing factors for bulimia include:
Biological Causes of Bulimia
Females are more likely than males to develop bulimia, especially during their late teens. Research also indicates that there is an increased rate of bulimia among those with a history of obesity, or any type of eating disorder among parents, siblings or other close family members.
Environmental Causes of Bulimia
Those whose self-perception is easily dictated by traditional media, social media or peer pressure are also at risk for bulimia. Incidence is also higher among participants of appearance-based sports, such as wrestling, gymnastics, figure skating, ballet, swimming, and track and field.
Emotional Causes of Bulimia
Underlying emotional disorders, such as depression, anxiety and low self-esteem, can increase a person’s risk of bulimia. Certain personality traits may also make one more vulnerable, including high levels of perfectionism or rigidity.
Those with an obsessive focus on weight loss or body image are at higher risk of developing bulimia. This includes excessive or extreme dieting – in most cases, binge eating is more likely to occur on days when the person is dieting. An over focus on exercise is also a symptom.
Other Predisposing Factors Involved with Bulimia
Traumatic events – such as death, separation, physical illness, sexual or physical abuse, or bullying – can play a role in the development of bulimia.
If you are concerned that you – or a loved one – may have an eating disorder, we are here to help. Please call 781-647-6727 to speak with a Walden eating disorders intake specialist, or complete the form on this page, to start the road to recovery.