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About: Tollie Schmidt

Founder Tollie’s Out of the Darkness Project

CEO – Tollie International Inc. & International Speaker

“Empowering Greatness – Creating a Dream Infused Life”

Causes of Bulimia and How We Can Influence Them

Bulimia PurgingBulimia is one of the most rapidly increasing psychological problems around nowadays. But what causes bulimia? Is it an extreme response to Western society’s pressure on young teen girls and women to be slim?

Or are there other factors contributing to a teen body-image problem?

Can we influence these teen body-image factors and change negative effects on teenagers and our youth?

Genetic, environmental, biological are all common factors that have to be looked at when we talk about the causes of any diseases or disorders.

Let’s look at these things in the case of Bulimia.

Also See:

Bulimia Treatment – Diagnosis – Support

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Bulimia Books

Learn Healthy Eating Habits and Nutrition

Scientific research recently has shown that bulimic teenagers are born with an inherited predisposition towards developing bulimia, particularly where susceptibility to addiction is in the genes.

It reveals that teen bulimics inherit a gene responsible for the addiction from their ancestors. This addiction can appear in different forms: alcohol addiction, drug addiction, food addiction, nicotine and the like. That’s why many teen  bulimics also suffer from addictions to other substances also, making recovery difficult.

So a genetic predisposition to bulimia may be there but it is not a single bulimia gene itself that is the culprit but a general addiction gene. And in many bulimic families we can trace backwards to past members of the family who suffered from other kinds of addiction in their lives.

But on the other hand not all teens who get an addiction gene suffer from bulimia or other addictions. So we have to look at other things like environmental factors.

Environmental factors can contribute to triggering the onset of bulimia. These include peer pressures, family attitudes, the influence of the media creating a need for thinness, poor self-esteem and a lack of acceptance of self and body shape.

Bulimia often begins with a dissatisfaction of the teen’s body. The teen may actually be underweight, but when that person looks in a mirror they see a distorted image and feel heavier than they really are. At first, this distorted body-image leads to dieting.

As the body-image in the mirror continues to be seen as larger than it actually is, the dieting escalates and leads to bulimia. The bottom line however, is that bulimia is the misuse of food to try to resolve emotional problems.

When a teen is unable to face their feelings, define problems, and resolves them effectively, that teen is more prone to become susceptible to the onset of bulimia.

A significant correlation between the development of clinical teen bulimia nervosa and sexual abuse has also been proven. Other forms of abuse (physical, emotional or combination of both of them) also link to developing of dissatisfaction with the teenager’s body-image that can lead to bulimia any time in the future.

Strict and cold parental attitude and luck of showing love to teens from parents can become a trigger for developing a wrong body-image in teenagers that can turn into bulimia in susceptible teens. That is why you should never tease your teenager if they are a little bit over weight as this could just be a normal growing process for that teen’s body shape. But a wrong word from a parent or family member may inadvertently send that teenager down the track to bulimia or another eating disorder.

The next factor which can cause bulimia is biological or biochemical factor. This happens when one or a few biological processes in the human body have gone off track. Some research has shown that an insufficiency of a special hormone in the brain called serotonin can cause depression and bulimia at the same time. This is probably why many teen bulimics also suffer from depression.

Some antidepressants that work on restoring the level of serotonin in the brain can help some teenage sufferers stop their binges while taking them. This could also mean that many teen sufferers, who manage to stop their bulimia for a short while, go back to binging again when they stop the antidepressants.

A teenager who has been on antidepressants and has ceased should consider other supplements where the teen can substitute the loss of serotonin; You can get serotonin in the sport supplement stores in capsules form. Although taking serotonin on its own will not automatically stop your bulimia, as it is a much deeper psychological problem that a single chemical imbalance: but it would not hurt either.

There are, many factors which can contribute to the development of a teenager‘s bulimia and eating disorder. For some teens it is the environmental factors that come into play, like desire to be thin, peer pressure to be thin or influence from the media to be thin. Some teenagers may have a strong genetic influence that can be traced to past relatives who may have suffered from bulimia or other addictions.

Depressed teens will blame their low serotonin level in the brain for their bulimia. But the majority of teenagers probably have a combination of factors that has caused their bulimia.

The causes of bulimia could be many: genetic, biological and environmental. So far we can’t change the genes we are born with but we can manage to control certain behaviors brought on by defective genes, with the correct methods.

To change biological factors like low serotonin levels in the brain, it is possible with certain drugs or supplementation, but it does not work for everyone. The only bulimia factor we can change easily is the environmental factor. This includes changing our attitude to body-image, our perception of real beauty and our eating habits.

By promoting a healthy environment we can eradicate or significantly diminish one of the main causes of bulimia – the environmental factor. The other causes can also be controlled if we are aware of their existence.

To see how some other teenagers and parents have managed, go to

Dr Irina Webster MD is a recognized authority in dealing with eating disorders. She is an author and a public speaker. She successfully uses revolutionary methods to treat eating disorders that are not the standard conventional programs practiced by main stream medicine.
She believes that an eating disorder must be treated where the sufferer has the most chance of relapsing or losing control and that is at home.
Information on her Eating Disorder Home Treatment Program can be accessed at

This video is about a girl, like 8 million others, who suffer from Bulimia and other eating disorders. It is for all the people out there suffering from their own worst enemy: eating disorder. For all the voices lost to a society too quick to judge them. I hope the message this video conveys will open the eyes to the people who are fortunate not to have ED, but are able to lend a helping hand to help those in need of it. Song Used: Brian Littrell: Over My Head If you would like to speak out about your eating disorder or would like to talk about it, a forum is available: