Why Eating Disorders Affect young Woman More than Anyone Else

Most common in young women, eating disorders have become very prevalent in our society. The reason for this is cultural – the distorted image young girls get of what is considered attractive.

For this reason, anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are many times more likely to occur in young women than in young men or other segments of the population. Only binge eating – eating large amounts without subsequent purging – is as common in males as it is in females.

In this Mental Health Guide article, we will outline the primary reasons that eating disorders effect more women than men.

The Causes of Eating Disorders

The causes are complex. They include genetic factors, demonstrated by the fact that eating disorders are often found among relatives. The genetic factor might be related to low amounts of serotonin in the brain, with brain chemistry being a clue to effective treatment. This genetic factor might cause some girls to have a distorted view of themselves. They think they are overweight when they are not.

While the genetic factor might make a person susceptible to an eating disorder, it is emotional health that is often the trigger. When a young girl believes that she isn’t thin enough to be attractive, the behaviors of self-starvation and purging might begin.

Though awareness of this issue has grown, the arts and entertainment industry along with the fashion industry continue to present a stereotype of what is attractive that simply doesn’t fit the normal, healthy body type of most young women. Those with a genetic predisposition might start chasing a body image goal that is unattainable and unhealthy for them.

Treatment for Eating Disorders in Young Women and Others

Very effective treatment programs are leading to a cure for many sufferers of eating disorders. Hospitalization in severe cases is often needed. Nutritional counseling, psychotherapy and medication are also a part of many effective treatment plans for eating disorders.