Eating disorders can have many causes and sometimes no obvious cause at all. Specific causes can be the breakup of a relationship or death of a loved one, loss of a job and money problems, a young person leaving home for the first time, loneliness, bullying, or abuse. Frequently, issues of self-esteem and self-worth are at the core of the disorder.

Often associated with eating disorders is society’s perception of beauty and how this is portrayed in the media. The pressure to look and be perfect is found throughout all kinds of media outlets: magazines, movies, music. These external pressures can easily heighten and exacerbate personally difficult circumstances and lead to the development of an eating disorder.


Trigger is a word used to describe a precipitating event (experience, memory, sensation, or thought) that causes an intense or overwhelming emotional reaction in the sufferer. It is not necessarily the cause of the eating disorder but causes responses that will likely exacerbate unhealthy coping mechanisms if the sufferer does not learn how to deal with these triggers.

Common triggers include talk about food and weight loss, pictures of celebrities, and general stress. Check out this article to read about the personal account of triggers by a sufferer who experiences bulimia.