Eating disorders are complex syndromes. There is no one cause of eating disorders, but some factors are likely to result in increased vulnerability to eating disorders. The trigger which precipitates an eating disorder could be just about anything which reduces self esteem.
It is a combination of these factors together with dietary restraint which lock together to trap a person in the eating disorder cycle
What are the eating disorders?
There are a number of different eating disorders, although all are driven by dietary restraint. The most common eating disorders are defined clinically by an internationally accepted set of criteria, which are published in a manual called DSM IV. They are:
There are other eating disorders which do not have such clearly defined clinical criteria, or which are similar to these but do not fit all the criteria, and these are known as EDNOS (Eating disorders not otherwise specified). Prevalence of clinically diagnosable eating disorders is small, approximately 1.5% of the vulnerable female adolescent and young adult population for anorexia nervosa, 2.5% for bulimia nervosa and perhaps 3.5% for EDNOS. However sub-clinical cases are certainly much more numerous, probably at least three times the diagnosable population.