Eating disorders are complex, multifaceted physical and mental health problems. Their development usually involves a number of different contributing and perpetuating factors. The exact processes are unclear and is it uncertain how they interact to develop or maintain an eating disorder (Fairburn & Harrison, 2003).

Contributing factors could include one or a combination of physical, emotional or sexual trauma; cultural emphasis on body image ideals; peer influences; loss and grief; brain chemistry; physiological effects of dieting, starvation or purging behaviours; relationship issues; stress; and maladaptive coping skills. The complexity of eating disorders means there are no simple solutions.

In this series, we’ll explore the theory behind eating disorders and find out what they really are.

Follow-Up Posts:

  1. The Development of an Eating Disorder
  2. Stages of an Eating Disorder
  3. The Starvation Syndrome
  4. Anorexia Nervosa
  5. Bulimia Nervosa