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What are the Social Causes of Anorexia?

written by: Erin281982 • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 12/6/2010

There are many different theories about what causes anorexia one of which involves social causes. Here is a look at some of the social causes of anorexia.

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    Social Causes of Anorexia: Pressure from Society

    One of the most talked about social causes for anorexia is what many feel is the constant pressure from society to be thin. Society has developed a certain image of what is considered to be attractive and appealing to others. Part of this image includes being very thin or a certain weight or size. In today's society we are constantly surrounded by pressure from the media to lose weight or get into shape. Even people who are considered a "normal" or "healthy" weight feel pressured to lose weight. This pressure can come from a television show featuring beautiful actors or actresses who are very thin to commercials promoting diet pills or the newest exercise equipment. In addition there always appears to be some new diet fad popping up every other day.

    Children are brought up seeing these images and this can result in some believing that the only way to be attractive or popular with their peers is to copy these images and live up to their expectations. This kind of pressure can easily lead to anorexia.

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    Social Causes of Anorexia: Pressure from Family or Friends

    Pressure from family, friends, teachers, coaches or even fellow school mates is also one of the leading social causes of anorexia. Well-meaning parents may think they are encouraging their child to lose weight to be healthy but they may in fact just be leading them down the vicious path of anorexia. Kids will start to become worried they are not losing enough weight fast enough or will try to lose more weight in order to be good enough for their parents.

    Teachers, coaches and school mates may also be pressuring a child to lose weight thus resulting in them developing anorexia. A coach may be encouraging the student to lose weight to be faster or to play better while fellow classmates may tease a student about being 'overweight'.

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    Social Causes of Anorexia: The Constant Need for Approval

    The constant need for approval is another one of the most common social causes of anorexia, particularly amongst those who suffer from low self-esteem. These individuals may be trying to become more attractive or fit into the image they believe everyone else wants them to be. This constant need for approval is not just limited to pre-teens or teenagers who are trying to fit in with their friends or attract boyfriends or girlfriends but it is also found in many adults, both male and female.

    As an individual begins to lose weight after starving themselves they may receive comments or compliments. These tend to make them feel better about themselves and they think they are finally starting to fit in. But this approval can make matters worse as the anorexic feels encouraged to continue with their severe dietary restrictions.