In most cases, there is not a single reason for an eating disorder occurring. There are several risk factors that can increase the likelihood of somebody having an eating disorder, including:
- being criticised for their eating habits, body shape or weight
- difficult relationships with family members or friends
- particular experiences, such as sexual or emotional abuse or the death of someone special
- having a family member that has suffered with an eating disorder
- being affected by pressure from 'society' to be slim (eg from looking at pictures of models and celebrities)
- certain personality traits (eg being obsessive, anxious, having low self-esteem or being a perfectionist)
- stressful situations (eg problems at work, school or university).
Recent research suggests that genetic factors play a part in eating disorders.