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What Causes Bulimia?

by Babs ‘O’ Reilly
(Miami Beach, Florida, USA)

The occurrence of bulimia nervosa among individuals has often been linked to psychological disorder wherein the individual utilizes binging and subsequent purging to address the issue of emotional distraught. This eating disorder’s hallmark is characterized by a conscious but uncontrollable overeating to escape from the emotional pressures given by external factors.

This is then accompanied with a sudden feeling of guilt and is compensated with purging through induced vomiting, laxative ingestion, or compulsive exercising. It a nutshell, this phenomenon has an underlying pathological fear of the individual to gain weight and causes an improper nutritional regimen.

Importance Of Understanding

Nevertheless, it is important to know the reason why this psychological disorder exists in some individuals to be able to address the issue and hopefully resolve it. As the phenomenon is the end result of the causative factors, it is therefore logical to look at the factors involved in contributing to its development.

So What Causes It?

Similar to the other form of eating disorder anorexia nervosa, the specific cause of this disease is hard to pinpoint. Nevertheless, scientists and researchers have settled with the notion that the most usual cause of this occurrence stems from a psychological outcome based from the historical and social pressures. There are also some researchers who suggest that the preponderance of this disease may be defined by genetic traits.

For the meantime, studies have been limited with a case to case basis, rationalizing that each person has a unique trait which produces different reactions to stimuli. As it is a complex form of physical and psychological interaction, it is safer to isolate determining factors individually.

Repetition In Family Line

There have been certain cases tackled which showed increased instances of recurrences along the same family line. There are two schools of thoughts which govern this idea, the first being viewed in a genetic manner, and the other as a social influence of close family members. However, the latter would have a debate in its validity as purging is usually done in secret and would therefore have no direct influence.

On the same note, there is no direct evidence which supports that the repetition is linked with genetics as there are no pinpointed genes responsible for causing it. Continued research and studies are still being undertaken to further widen the knowledge base of this disease.

Classic Social Pressures

Most researches and studies would probably suggest that the safest bet for concluding this occurrence would be based on social pressures and common norms. As societies have different cultures and beliefs regarding the same idea shared with other communities, there are supporting cases which indicate the frequency of developing bulimia nervosa to be influenced by the social views of society on aesthetic beauty, more specifically on accepted physiques regarded as popular.

This poses a direct influence on people who give high regard on social approval stemming from self esteem and acceptance. Certain studies have solid case evidences which suggest that this phenomenon of social pressure to occur in adolescents and young adults.

Clinical Findings Related To Hormones

There are some suggestions from certain individual cases that suggest that there is a significant relationship of the level of serotonin in individuals with the occurrence of developing clinical depression. Though this does not directly describe its relationship with bulimia nervosa, clinical depression is considered to be the basis for a psychological disorder leading to the said eating disorder.

General studies are still being done to shed light on the occurrence of the eating disorder with internal factors such as hormones and feedback mechanisms.

Historical Security

Some studies focus on the link between bulimia nervosa and a history of insecurities and abuses inflicted upon the individual. Some of these abuses involve physical, sexual, verbal, and psychological methods. A certain study published showed a third of the bulimic respondents acknowledged being sexually abused.

The sudden impact of a high intensity stressor may also lead to a paradigm shift which manifests a defensive nature to counter the effects brought about by the latter. This suggests that focusing on the outcome of being accepted by society in other means such as being physically fit may be related to hiding the dark pasts in which bulimics may have experienced.

As a natural social being, people who are fixated in trying to belong may resort to extreme measures to attain acceptable norms. One of these extreme practices may be in the form of eating disorders to produce the socially revered physique.

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Updated: October 31, 2012 — 2:44 am

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