For unusual eating behaviour to be considered a disorder, the behaviour must continue for a period of time and cause significant harm to the individual’s physical health and/or ability to function at school or work or negatively affect the indiviudal’s interactions with other people.
Eating disorders include:
- Anorexia nervosa;
- Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder;
- Binge eating disorder;
- Bulimia nervosa;
- Pica; and
- Rumination disorder.
Causes of Anorexia Nervosa
What causes anorexia nervosa is unknown.
Few risk factors for it, other than being female, have been identified.
Genetic and environmental (social) factors play a role in the development of anorexia nervosa.
The desire to be thin pervades Western society, and obesity is considered unattractive by many.
Even before adolescence, children are aware of these attitudes, and more than half of preadolescent girls diet or take other measures to control their weight.
Yet only a small percentage of these girls develop anorexia nervosa.
Other factors, such as psychologic susceptibility, probably predispose certain people to develop anorexia nervosa.
Many people who develop the disorder belong to middle or upper socioeconomic classes, are meticulous and compulsive, and have very high standards for achievement and success.