Midlife Eating Disorders More Common Than You Think

(Source – AARP)

In June 2012 the International Journal of Eating Disorders published the results of a seminal study on the prevalence of eating disorders in midlife and beyond.

5 Signs You May Have an Eating Disorder

1. You make yourself vomit because you feel uncomfortably full.
2. You worry that you have lost control over how much you eat.
3. You’ve lost more than 14 pounds in a three-month period.
4. You believe yourself to be fat when others think you are too thin.
5. Thinking about food dominates your life.

Lead study author Cynthia Bulik, Ph.D., director of the Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, found that 13 percent of American women 50 or older experience symptoms of an eating disorder; 60 percent report that their concerns about weight and shape negatively affect their lives; and 70 percent are trying to lose weight.

Those figures mirror the rates found among teens and young women. An eating disorder is a mental illness with close links to depression and anxiety.

These conditions also have a serious medical impact.

Anorexia is the deadliest of all psychiatric disorders, killing up to 20 percent of chronic sufferers. Starvation, binge eating and purging all damage the heart and gastrointestinal systems. Erratic eating can cause hormone imbalances that can lead to osteoporosis. Repeated vomiting and malnutrition damage teeth, too.åÊ

These problems affect eating disorder sufferers of any age, but they hit harder and faster as people get older and their bodies become less resilient.

The physiological and psychological changes that happen during menopause seem to echo changes at puberty, Bulik says, which may make this time a high-risk period for the development of new eating disorders or the reemergence of old ones.åÊ

See the full article.åÊ