"Self-esteem is the center of everything," says Dr. James Davis.
That's why having low self esteem can take such a drastic toll on a person.
Sherida Newmister is a therapist at Rivendell Behaviorial Health Services. She says, "Self esteem has a lot to do with eating disorders. In fact, researchers will say self esteem is the core of eating disorders."
Anorexia nervosa is when someone diets so excessively they stop eating altogether.
Bulimia is when someone compulsively overeats and then vomits or uses laxatives.
Emily Kovar knows first hand how difficult having an eating disorder can be. She is recovering from anorexia.
Kovar says, "I really had a need to be able to control it. My grades and just being a perfectionist."
What's more the struggle to be thin is getting harder for even younger people.
Davis says, "There's a study that was done of fourth grade girls and it showed that 80 percent of them were worried about their weight. At ten years old."
Kovar says, "I remember coming home from elementary school and telling myself that my snacks need to just be vegetables from now on. And then it went from vegetables to you don't really need an afternoon snack. And it slowly just cuts itself down."
Another form of low self esteem can be through cutting.
Newmister says, "Many people who do cut do have low self-esteem. But most of it comes from severe internal pain."
This is when a person cuts themselves on their arms, stomach, or legs.
Davis says, "If you have pain on the inside, if I transfer that pain to the outside of me by cutting myself, then it will help the inside pain."
While there is no exact trigger for any of these disorders they are all considered coping mechanisms. Experts say that to treat them, you must first deal with the underlying problems.