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Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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About 50% of patients with bulimia nervosa have had anorexia nervosa in the past.

Many of the factors that are thought to contribute to the aetiology of anorexia nervosa are likely to apply also to the aetiology of bulimia nervosa.

Predisposing factors (1,2):

  • individual/family:
    • female adolescence
    • low self-esteem
    • personal or family history of depression
    • personal or family history of obesity
    • high personal expectations
    • family history of eating disorders
    • parents older than average
    • disturbed family interactions
    • early menarche
  • social:
    • pressures to be slim
    • pressures to conform and to achieve

Precipitating factors are general stresses, especially those that threaten self-esteem.

Females with Type 1 diabetes may have an increased risk of bulimia nervosa


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