When most people think of eating disorders, they think of young women. However, the face of a woman with an eating disorder has changed over the last ten years. More and more women in their 30s, and even into their 50s, are seeking treatment for these disorders. This startling shift in the group of women at risk for eating disorders has experts looking closely at why these women are beginning to struggle with binge eating, anorexia, or bulimia. What the research shows is both surprising and saddening. Women in these age groups are not only the fastest growing group, but they are also the group of women who wait the longest to seek treatment for their disorder. If you're searching for a trustworthy psychologist in Raleigh, NC, call Legacy Freedom.
While the majority of women who struggle with eating disorders still fall in the 12 to 25 age range, women over 30 are quickly shifting the demographic. No one particular event or factor increases a woman's risk of developing an eating disorder, but researchers believe that factors like a history of dieting, genetics, media influence, a need for perfection, and trauma can all spur these midlife eating disorders. Some women who received treatment for their eating disorders in their youth find that middle age causes these issues to resurface again. The resurfacing or development of these issues in middle age is commonly linked to transitions in life.
Many women find that these situations trigger the resurfacing of or beginning of an eating disorder:
- Kids leaving home. For some women, their children leaving home is a particularly traumatic event. Women who depend on their children to validate them and help them define themselves may turn their focus towards their appearance, focusing on exercising, diets and health in hopes of filling the void left by their children leaving home.
- Loss of a parent. The loss of a parent can trigger those who are prone to eating disorders to begin to develop their disorder, or a dormant disorder can reemerge in the wake of the grief of the loss. The disorder may provide a distraction or serve as a coping mechanism.
- Severe illness. Whether it's breast cancer, a hysterectomy, or another serious illness, many women struggle with their body image after the treatments or surgeries are complete. In an effort to like what they see in the mirror many women turn to controlling their food and calorie intake.
- Loss of youth. Many women struggle with the pressures of society to stay young and beautiful. Self-esteem becomes directly affected by appearance. Maintaining a youthful appearance can take a destructive turn when purging, using laxatives, or restricting food intake becomes routine.
- Change in relationships. Separation or divorce can take an emotional toll on anyone. For women who are middle aged and faced with the fear of being alone or returning to the dating world, self-esteem and self-worth may begin to suffer if they feel unattractive. Exercising, food restriction and dieting may spiral out of control.
Dependable Psychologist in Raleigh, NC
At Legacy Freedom of Raleigh, we know that asking for help and acknowledging that you have an eating disorder is difficult. Our care team is ready to take your call and help you begin your road to living a healthy life. Eating disorders are difficult to overcome. Our holistic approach to mental health puts you at the center of our treatment focus, not your eating disorder. Learn more about our holistic approach to mental health and then call or click to connect psychologist in Raleigh, NC.