At least 30 million Americans of all ages and gender have an eating disorder.
When you think about binge eating, bulimia, and anorexia, you probably picture an adolescent girl. That is because eating disorders tend to appear in adolescence and are more common in females.
A 2012 study established that around 13 percent of American women over 50 years have an eating disorder. A 2017 study found that about 4 percent of women over 40 years have a diagnosable eating disorder, yet they are not on treatment. Another study established that even though incidences of anorexia plateau around 26 years, rates of bulimia do not plateau until around 47 years.
The crisis of eating disorders among middle-aged women might be bigger than we realize because older women might not recognize the symptoms or are reluctant to admit.
According to Jennifer Gaudiani, the author of “Sick Enough” and the medical director of Denver’s Gaudiani Clinic, most older women with eating disorders have experienced some disordered eating earlier in life. It is highly likely that those seeds were planted earlier on. Major life transitions such as divorce, illness, health struggles, or a child’s death are common triggers for a surge in eating disorders.
Research suggests that hormonal changes associated with perimenopause may trigger eating disorders. Ageism is often overlooked as a trigger because of its subtlety.
Eating disorders don’t look much different in midlife than during adolescence. However, the consequences and effects can be different. Older bodies are older and eating disorders take a toll on the body. Aging bodies are more vulnerable to the medical complications of eating disorders.
Eating disorders cause nutritional deficiencies that can lead to digestive issues such as slow stomach emptying, GERD, and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. These can cause further complications such as hormonal imbalances, gum disease, strain on the heart, and brittle bones. Some of these conditions can cause sudden death.
A person with an eating disorder is highly likely to have other mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
How a Recovery Center Can Help You Recover From An Eating Disorder
At Harmony Place Monterey, around 20% of women treated are over 35 years. There are several eating disorder recovery centers. They include:
- Harmony Place Mark Schwartz
- Renfrew Center of Philadelphia
- Carolina House Eating Disorder Treatment Center
- Westwind Eating Disorder Recovery Center
These recovery centers have an experienced team of therapists who work both individually and in group therapy to help their clients to unmask the root cause of the problem. They coach their clients to practice new life skills while in treatment. Dr. Mark Schwartz Harmony Place takes a holistic approach towards treating this problem.
Eating disorder counseling addresses the psychological component of the problem. This component plays a key role in the development and maintenance of the disorder over time. If the psychological element is not properly addressed, relapse is highly likely.
Treatment centers help women with eating disorders develop better-coping skills. Certain stressors or life situations can make relapse more likely. Coping skills will reduce the risk of relapse.
During group counseling, clients get a chance to learn from others. Therefore, one will gain support and encouragement from other people. Dr. Mark Schwartz Harmony Place usually supports his clients in every manner possible.
There is Hope for Eating Disorders
Having an eating disorder is not the end of life. It is not a death sentence. Millions of women have successfully conquered eating disorders. Treatment centers offer hope to those struggling with disordered eating. Harmony Place Dr. Schwartz is one of the places where one can find help.