Older Women with Eating Disorders
Body dissatisfaction: it's not just for teens and young women anymore.
Eating disorders are on the rise among middle aged and older women. And they are often misdiagnosed -- not only because they're unexpected -- but because weight loss and changes in appetite can also occur as a result of illness or medication.
Our culture's obsession with youth, thinness and looking good can cause many older women to experiment with compulsive exercise or dieting to ward off the signs of aging. Older women may also experience increased trauma as the result of the death of a spouse, divorce, children leaving home, menopause or a combination of sources. For some women, even natural aging can be traumatic. They look in the mirror and no longer see the bright, hopeful face of their youth.
When a traumatic event occurs, some women may choose to focus on the things they can control -- like their eating, weight and fitness -- rather than experience the pain of events that are completely out of their control (like the aging process).
A recent study in Austria is one of the first to look at poor body image and eating disorders in older women. The study included a random group of 475 women between the ages of 60-70. 90% of the women in the study felt fat, and 60% were dissatisfied with their bodies! Over 80% of the women made great efforts to maintain or lose weight. 4% of the women had clinical eating disorders, and another 4% had at least one symptom of an eating disorder, such as abuse of laxatives, diuretics, vomiting, bingeing, or compulsive exercise.
Top 10 Eating Disorder Blogs of 2015
Eating Disorder Hope Award
- Mirasol Presents at Asta 2017 April 25, 2017
- Breaking the Cycle of Eating Disorders, Insomnia and Trauma January 17, 2017
- The Promise of Trans-Cranial Electrical Stimulation November 5, 2016
- Fall Backpacking Trip October 18-20, 2016
- Embrace: The Movie September 20, 2016
- Shift. Focus. Evolve. August 31, 2016
- Maria's Worlds August 30, 2016
- The Challenges of Summer July 15, 2016
- High Ropes Course Challenges Families to Develop New Dynamic June 20, 2016
- Mirasol's Family Program: Recovery for the Whole Family June 16, 2016
- Eating Disorders, Shame and Tools for Recovery June 9, 2016
- Esquire Magazine's Recipe for Male Anorexia April 26, 2016
- Backpacking with Clients: What We Brought, And What We Took Away April 20, 2016
- Finding Yourself in the Middle of Nowhere April 20, 2016
- Eating Disorders and Sexuality: A Mirasol Panel Discussion March 10, 2016
- Straight Talk on Body Image: A Mirasol Panel Discussion February 22, 2016
- Treatment Center Reviews February 16, 2016
- Art Therapy: Challenging the Inner Critic February 8, 2016
- Men Experience Eating Disorders Too! February 8, 2016
- Jenn’s Story: Learning to Put Recovery First January 27, 2016
- “Reflections:” A Powerful Tool for Healing Relationships, Developing Personal Responsibility, and Moving Forward in Recovery January 23, 2016
- The Best Present: The Neurobiology of Giving December 16, 2015
- Having Faith: A Mirasol Client Video Testimonial December 11, 2015