Honestly, the causes of bulimia are not entirely pinpointed. There are a number of different factors in modern society that contribute to the prevalence of all eating disorders, and bulimia nervosa is no exception. It is a very complicated disorder that has traits of both physical and psychological disorders at the same time. Many times, someone resorts to bulimia as a way to cover up or escape from some sort of emotional trauma. While it is difficult to figure out exactly why some people resort to bulimia instead of something else, there are a few established reasons that most consider to be an influence.
There are two modes of thought about the influence of family on the causes of bulimia. Some people claim that people have a genetic predisposition to develop an eating disorder, which could be considered a logical extrapolation from the kind of person who gets hooked on alcohol or drugs after trying them once, while others can do them forever and decide to stop effortlessly on their own. It might be difficult to prove that their genetics is a cause, but it’s not hard to demonstrate that some people come from an abusive family, where their trauma and lack of self-esteem drive them to escape through bulimia.
Among the causes of bulimia is the need to relieve stress. People utilize bulimia as a defense mechanism against high-stress situations like divorce, a death in the family, marriage, moving, or abuse. It might seem petty, but most people have to use something to escape for a while. While you hopefully don’t use an eating disorder to escape, you might use something more socially acceptable or productive like playing an instrument, exercise, video games, shopping, etc.
It’s hard to argue with this as one of the predominant causes of bulimia. If you think about it, why would anyone care what they weigh if the only thing people were valued on was the style of shoes they wore? It could be anything, but the point is, if people weren’t hard-wired to care about physical appearance as much as they do, the societal pressure to be thin and look “good” wouldn’t be there either. Also, other societies and other eras viewed weight differently. Idolizing the skinny look is only a recent phenomenon.
Tragedy struck when the media latched on to celebrity lifestyles and looks as a way to attract more viewers. In addition to regular news programs who inexplicably feel the need to report on the happenings of famous people, reality shows and late-night shows do nothing but glorify the lives and looks of celebrities. There is almost no way that someone wouldn’t be conditioned to equate success and happiness with looking like a celebrity, because that is the message people are beaten over the head with from day to day. If you want to eliminate the causes of bulimia, you have to tackle the unlikely task of reprogramming America to appreciate the beauty in all body types, not just skinny ones.