Causes of Eating Disorders

Posted on August 21, 2018

Humans are born with the need for attachment. It is shown in babies often want to be close to their caregivers, more so in risky and apprehensive situations. Those with secure attachment generally feel protected, cared for and view themselves in a highly positive light. Having a positive mind set in life, they have better control of their emotions. The feeling of being safe and secure gives them high self-esteem and believe that they are deserving of the care and concern from others. They could also see that there are people who are there to support them and provide them with hope when needed.

On the other hand, Insecure attachment lead to uncertainties towards the support they can get and their own ability to handle social situations. Hence, they tend to develop a defensive mechanism to cope with the negative feelings they have and fear of abandonment, unsatisfying relationships and receiving insufficient love. This causes them to expect little love out of people and expect them to leave.

People with Insecure attachment are prone to feeling extreme anxiety, pain or sorrow, and have a higher chance of picking up unhealthy habits like addictions and eating disorders. Bingeing and other eating disorders act as a defensive mechanism for them to divert their attention away from their problems, insecurities, feeling insignificant, helplessness and other negative emotions they might have. In a situation when all seem to be out of their control, an anorexic individual tends to put focus on their body to feel in control of their life

Eating disorders usually starts during one’s teenage years due to the desire to lose weight. Most of the time, healthy weight loss would come with compliments from people around them. As time passes, the positive feelings would be linked to losing weight and coping mechanism to help deal with negative feelings. This evolves into a habit eventually and lead them to view dieting as a satisfying act.

One’s attachment style and sense of security can be improved by a supportive figure or even through therapy. Treatments that help enhance self-awareness and regulate one’s negative emotions (Cognitive re-appraisal) by changing one’s subconscious mind and allow one to develop secure attachment. However, it is hard to change one’s mindset since the insecure attachment largely come from the type of relationships formed since they were young.

Category(s):Adjusting to Change / Life Transitions, Adult psychological development, Attachment Issues, Caregiver Issues / Stress, Eating Disorders, Health Psychology, Social Isolation

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