Why Do EDs Happen?
Interview with Imma - Part 2 -
The reasons behind an Eating Disorder
Finding the source behind an eating disorder is hard for sure; some people might take a few years before realising and some others might never understand why. Together with Imma we tried to analyse the most common causes behind eating disorders
Q: Why do EDs happen?
A: I have met hundreds of people affected by eating disorders; I met some of them when I was recovering from bulimia and I met some others thanks to my project How to Satisfy bulimia and I can say that there two circumstances which are in common to all: relationship with family, in particular with the mother and violence, both physical and psychologic. There is also a third theory claiming that eating disorders can be genetically transmitted but enough research hasn’t been carried out yet to either confirm or deny this statement.
What people never think about is that ethnicity and the place where you are born is also to be taken into consideration. Eating disorders are prevalent mainly in Europe and America which are the most developed continents and that is because we have too much food available for our needs. I am going to explain that better: our brain is divided in three parts and today I want to explain more about the reptilian part which is the primordial one. Cavemen used to get up every morning and the first thing they would think about was hunting because that was the only way for them to get food. When people today have an eating disorder like bulimia or binge eating and search for food in an obsessive way it’s because they are activating the reptile part of their brain; the problem is that we are now in 2021 and food is easily accessible everywhere this is why food in my opinion, is a socially accepted dependence. If you see an alcoholic on the street you would immediately point at them as an alcoholic but if you see someone eating junk food on the street you wouldn’t point at them as a bulimic or binge eater unless they are overweight and even when they are overweight you would think they are just greedy, and this for society is considered acceptable.
Another aspect I would like to discuss with you is the bliss point. Have you ever heard of the bliss point? It is the amount of a particular ingredient, such as sugar or salt or fat which optimizes deliciousness and for this reason when you eat it your brain will ask for more. There are foods which cause addiction and this is certainly nothing new but if we consider the consequences for someone affected by EDs then the situation is different. Bulimic people, for example, will most likely binge eat when they feel nervous, stressed, anxious, or sad for something. When we feel this kind of emotions our brain will look for fat or sweet food because they increase the level of serotonin in our brain, which is responsible for happiness. They would feel extremely happy and satisfied while eating and won’t stop from doing it also because of the bliss point effect. Have you ever seen someone binging over fruit or vegetables? The answer is no, because that type of food is unprocessed and doesn’t cause dependence.
You can find more information about Imma’s project “How to Satisfy Bulimia” in the third and last part of this interview, under the Recovery and Support section. Click on the link below and go to the page.