Eating Disorders Affect Older Women, Too

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Reaching a pinnacle of age for a woman comes with uneasy transitions. By the time a woman has reached her forties, fifties, and sixties, she has lived a lifetime within the female identity. Femininity is bought, paid for, and dictated by mainstream society, media, and corporations. The ideals of beauty, perfection, femininity, and grace, are decided upon by the world at large. Women are objectified, abused, and judged for the way they look. Many older women report that by the time a woman reaches an older age she stops caring about what other people think. The importance of meeting others’ beauty standards slips away as she has finally gained a deep sense of herself. Unfortunately, for many other women, the transition into aging is not so easy. Watching the signs and symbols of youth and beauty slip away, they develop a self consciousness which can lead to an eating disorder.

On the Rise

According to Dr. Margo Maine, as reported by Yahoo.com, eating disorders have been on the rise for the last fifteen years in older women. Illnesses, the loss of friends, and significant others like a husband or wife can trigger a need for control which results in an eating disorder. Additionally, aging slows down the body’s metabolism and normal processes which can lead to weight gain, wrinkles, and other physical characteristics which women have been taught are “bad” or “ugly” their entire lives. Coupling the societal pressures with changing internal emotional environments equates a problematic behaviors in older women.

Roots of Disordered Eating

For many women, the development of an eating disorder is not spontaneous. Many older women who begin to have problems with disordered eating, thinking, or body image later in life suffered these issues earlier in life. Concerningly, disordered eating at an older age can cause more significant health complications. More than ever, the woman’s body is in need of sufficient nutrition, especially the amino acids, fats, and omega’s which the brain only gets from food. Older women are at a risk for developing dementia or alzheimers if their brains do not receive the proper nutrition. Additionally, their immune systems will be compromised in fighting off viruses and their bodies weakened in healing from falls or injuries.

 

Harmony Place has a eating disorder specialist on staff to treat our clients who have co-occurring diagnoses of eating disorders and substance use disorders. Addiction and alcoholism is also common in older women as a means to cope with changes in life. Our luxury residential program provides a comfortable and accommodating environment for healing. It is never too late to recover and live a happy life. Please call us today for a private consultation, 1-855-627-1417.