Prevention starts with understanding. By understanding the causes of eating disorders and self-harm, we can help foster healthier alternatives. Parents, educators, friends and the media can all play a role in prevention.
Onset of an eating disorder or self-harm is a reflection of a person’s stress levels and inability to cope. The majority start in adolescence – a stressful time of physical and emotional change. But stress can come from anywhere at anytime.
What triggers an eating disorder or self-harm is different for everyone – puberty, trauma, the media are common triggers – but one thing both these conditions have in common is that they stem from emotional distress. A full recovery is only possible when the underlying issues affecting the child are addressed – no matter how difficult they are to face.
Kids experience stress too
Stress is a major factor in the development of an eating disorder or self-harm. Stress doesn’t have to occur as a major traumatic event, for some, it can be cumulative.
Some examples of stresses experienced by children and adolescents are:
- The death of a family member
- The breakup of a relationship
- Physical changes, including puberty
- Challenges with school or friends
- Family conflict