People of all ages, backgrounds, body types, and genders can develop anorexia nervosa. The development of anorexia nervosa can be influenced by many external factors.
Individuals with a family history of eating disorders may be more susceptible to developing one themselves. Anorexia nervosa can also be triggered by psychological factors such as low self esteem and poor mental health. Mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression and obsessive compulsive tendencies are all closely linked to anorexia nervosa, along with characteristics such as perfectionism and the need to achieve goals. Societal norms and social media can contribute to the development of anorexia nervosa. Individuals who are exposed to the cultural emphasis on dieting and weight loss may form a distorted view on their own body and feel pressure to conform. A significant life event may trigger anorexia nervosa, such as starting puberty or going through a major break up or loss. Traumatic experiences such as sexual or physical abuse and neglect can also be a trigger.