It’s important to remember that none of these factors mean that a young person WILL develop an eating disorder – they’re simply risk factors and a young person who has a combination of the different factors that we’re going to discuss may be more likely to develop an eating disorder than their peers, so it’s worth being aware of them.
This post looks at personality factors – those factors related to a young person’s characteristics or personality traits that might make them most likely to develop an eating disorder. You might also be interested in reading the posts about Family Factors and Social Factors.
Difficulty expressing feelings and emotions
Young people who are unable to express their feelings or emotions very well may turn to food as way of expressing themselves. This might not make immediate sense to you – but think about how often we console ourselves with a chocolate bar, an ice cream or a packet of crisps when we’re feeling down in the dumps about something. Eating disorder sufferers take this quite normal behaviour to a whole new level, using food to help them control and express their emotions.
A tendency to comply with others’ demands
You know exactly the kind of kids we’re talking about here! The type who tend to be well behaved and have a real respect for rules. Many eating disorders are bound up in a series of complex rules with sufferers creating special rules for themselves, for example an anorexic might have a strict rule about the number of calories they’re allowed to eat or a bulimic might force themselves to be sick a specific number of times after eating a particular type of food.
Very high expectations of achievement
Young people who have a perfectionist personality type and are very hard on themselves and aim high with their academic work, are more likely to apply this type of approach to food and dieting, either pushing themselves to achieve a lower and lower weight, or to do increasing amounts of exercise. They are also more likely than most young people to give themselves a hard time when they don’t meet their own exacting standards either in their academic or personal life. They may use food to help them cope or to punish themselves.
If you would like further support, Pooky can deliver an eating disorder training session at your school or college.
You may also be interested in other free eating disorder resources I have uploaded: [gallery_bank type=”individual” format=”masonry” title=”true” desc=”false” responsive=”true” animation_effect=”fadeIn” album_title=”true” album_id=”3″] [gallery_bank type=”individual” format=”masonry” title=”true” desc=”false” responsive=”true” animation_effect=”fadeIn” album_title=”true” album_id=”4″]