Eating Disorder Prevention

Eating disorders are a prevalent problem in the United States and Canada with common eating disorders including anorexia, bulimia, binge eating and compulsive overeating. If you are concerned about a friend, coworker or loved one, there are some things you can do to prevent an eating disorder from forming or getting worse.

Causes of Eating Disorders

One way to prevent eating disorders is to take a closer look at the possible causes of eating disorders.

  • Stress and Life Transition. Big life changes are hard for everyone, but they are particularly hard on those with a predisposition for eating disorders. Many individuals with eating disorders trace their disorder back to a time of stress, transition and uncertainty.
  • Emotional Causes. Eating disorders are sometimes linked to emotional issues such as lack of self-esteem, depression, anxiety disorders or depression. Many individuals with eating disorders also describe a tendency toward obsessive-compulsive thinking.
  • Cultural Causes. Cultural causes include popular media and eating trends of the culture.
  • Family Influences. Parental attitudes about eating, perfectionism and weight play a factor in eating disorder formation.
  • Traumatic Events. This includes instances when the individual was faced with a traumatic accident or illness or if the individual experienced abuse. Sometimes these traumas trigger a series of events that leads to an eating disorder.
  • Genetic Causes. Some research indicates that there may be a genetic predisposition in individuals who suffer from eating disorders.
  • Family History. Has the individual witnessed eating disorders in loved ones, or is there a history of abuse, trauma or addictions in the family? All of these have been linked to eating disorders.

Active Prevention of Eating Disorders

Understanding the possible causes of eating disorders may help you prevent eating disorders in yourself and those you love. After you familiarize yourself with all of the possible causes of eating disorders, you will be in a better place to prevent eating disorders.

Here are some basic guidelines for preventing eating disorders in yourself and those you love:

  • Understand that eating disorders are complex problems that are not easily fixed. By increasing your understanding, you are more likely to effectively reach those you love.
  • Understand that eating disorders do not just affect women and girls. Men are increasingly being treated for eating disorders and are able to find more help and treatment than ever before.
  • Encourage body acceptance in yourself and others. By being an example of body acceptance, you can set a model for others to follow. Listen to your own language about body shapes and sizes; be less critical of others.
  • Encourage and support someone who may have low self esteem. Even a smile can help. Telling someone they are doing a good job can be helpful as well.
  • Do not judge. If someone you know has an eating disorder already, do not pass judgment. Most individuals who suffer from eating disorders already have massive amounts of guilt, self-hatred and shame.
  • Talk about it. If you are concerned about a loved one, don’t be afraid to lovingly open a discussion. You never know what you may find out, or if there is a way to discuss more.

Help for Eating Disorders

If you are worried about yourself or a loved one and would like to learn more about eating disorder prevention and treatments, call our toll-free 24 hour helpline. We have trained counselors that can help you explore your treatment options and learn more about the wellness process.

(866) 612-7509