Eating Disorders Affect All Ages
Eating disorders are commonly thought of as issues that affect young adolescent girls, but individuals of any age can be impacted by these life-changing disorders.
In fact, it is often more difficult for middle aged men and women to seek treatment because they feel they do not fit the stereotype of an eating disorder sufferer.
A study published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders last year highlighted the need for people of all ages to learn more about eating disorders and their treatment and prevention.
The study 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 actively trying to lose weight.
Effects of Eating Disorders
The statistics are startling, especially considering the implications of eating disorders. Eating disorders are deadly, and anorexia, which is the deadliest of all mental health disorders, has a mortality rate of 20 percent.
Eating disorders affect an individual’s entire life, as lead author, Cynthia Bulik, Ph.D., states. “Eating disorders affect quality of life, and this has a tremendous impact on society. It can affect productivity at work, well-being at home and it can have very serious economic impacts.”
Because there is a lack of understanding when it comes to eating disorders, many sufferers, especially older women, continue in silence and do not get the help they need. Many are embarrassed to have a “teenager’s disorder” and feel they can put an end to it if they try hard enough.
Eating disorders can cause many problems over time, and are closely linked to depression and anxiety disorders. As time goes on, the eating disorder takes more control of the person’s life, and becomes a dangerous force that they are unable to manage.
Treatment by a professional is the best way to manage an eating disorder. Rather than let an eating disorder get worse and cause serious harm to one’s life, individuals struggling with this issue are encouraged to find help right away.