Main Causes of Bulimia


Some people may feel that they are fat, no matter how thin they
actually are. Or they may feel guilty when they eat too much
food. The guilt and shame from eating makes the person vomit up
all their food. These people have bulimia nervosa, or bulimia,
an eating disorder. The disorder has nothing to do with the
digestive system, but rather with the mind. And though people
with bulimia may share the same guilt and shame about food, and
the same patterns of bingeing and purging, bulimia has many
causes. Doctors have not identified any one cause of bulimia,
but do know of several factors that may contribute to developing

Bulimia may be caused by a genetic component. Certain genes may
predispose a person to developing bulimia. Bulimia appears to
run in families—people with relatives suffering from bulimia
have a higher frequency of developing bulimia. This may,
however, have more to do with family influences and role models
than genetics.

Brain chemistry may also cause bulimia. Research indicates that
people with bulimia tend to have different levels of a chemical
in the brain called serotonin. Altered levels of serotonin may
also contribute to clinical depression.

Social pressures may contribute to bulimia’s development. People
who want to please others may feel compelled to keep thin and
fit. Women in particular receive daily messages to be thin. This
drive may turn into an eating disorder.

Emotional stress from family problems or being a perfectionist
may also contribute to a person developing bulimia.

A person with bulimia will first binge, meaning that he or she
will eat more than 1,000 calories in one sitting. Sometimes, to
a person with an eating disorder like a bulimia, eating a cookie
might constitute a binge. The binge then triggers intense
feelings of self-disgust and the person will induce vomiting,
exercise excessively, or abuse laxatives to remove the perceived
extra weight.

Bulimia is caused by numerous, subtle factors, and all people
suffering from bulimia need treatment from a psychiatrist and
therapy to break the binge-and-purge cycle. Bulimia is
completely treatable