Genetic vs. Environment: Blame?
As in most any disease (processes), when someone is diagnosed with an eating disorder, both those who are suffering, and their family and friends, often search for someone or something to blame for the situation. This often leads to feelings of guilt on the part of the person with the eating disorder, and/or their families.
There is a vast amount of research being done to learn more about what factors are most influential in the development of eating disorders. The study of certain genes in the brain are leading researchers to conclude that their are definitely both genetic AND environmental components that may contribut to the development of an eating disorder.
Certain personality traits are now known to be predisposing factors for some people who are diagnosed with an eating disorder. These may include certain anxiety characteristics, perfectionism, obsessiveness, a need for order and symmetry, fear of change/need for structure, and a fear of conflict/confrontation.
There is evidence now that indicates that when a person exhibits some of these personality characteristics, other environmental factors may contribute to the development of an eating disorder. Not always, but sometimes, this involves a history of abuse/neglect, peer criticism, and other factors that may challenge these ingrained traits.
Hopefully, as research continues, the blame and guilt that patients and their families often feel can be challenged in a rational way.