Eating Disorders Becoming More Common in Middle Aged Women

Self on 03.29.11
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A post in New York Times' Well blog today explores an emerging phenomenon: The rise of eating disorders in middle aged women. More than 10 million U.S. women suffer from disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, but typically the symptoms are recognized in adolescents and young adults. Now, say experts, "more and more women are showing up at their clinics in midlife or even older. Some had eating disorders early in life and have relapsed, but a significant minority first develop symptoms in middle age."

Like younger women, these too feel pressure to be thin and attractive, and disease are often triggered by a stressful transition -- divorce, say, or childbirth. But older women may be better at concealing their destructive behaviors, and  symptoms such as ceasing to menstruate can be misconstrued as early menopause. Questions of identity, control, and self perception still loom large at every age, however, it would appear. 

Click through to New York Times to read more about one woman's plight and the art she created during a therapy program. 

WATCH VIDEO: Pregnant with an Eating Disorder: Discovery Health


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