Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Eating Disorders in Men and Women in Later Years

@ Dr. Kimberly McCallum of McCallum Place

Women and men in their 30s, 40s and 50s are now seeking treatment in increasing numbers, challenging beliefs that eating disorders occur mostly in adolescent girls. Although the prevalence of eating disorders in middle age is not known, there seems an increase not only among those suffering but also in professionals and family members more likely to consider the diagnosis and treatment whatever the age. Older adults are not all alike in their presentation. Patients may present with new onset symptoms, re-emergence of symptoms, increased awareness and distress associated with persistent low grade symptoms or enduring and severe symptoms. Those with chronic or intermittent symptoms, never treated for an eating disorder, may finally seek care because they find themselves in a health crisis precipitated by many years of disordered eating behavior. Older patients may present with the whole gamut of symptoms including compulsive exercise, rigid eating, vomiting or laxative use, extreme body dissatisfaction, preoccupation with plastic surgery, restrictive eating, binge eating, low weight, obesity or extreme weight fluctuations. Co morbid psychiatric and medical conditions are common as they are in youth, particularly struggles with alcohol, anxiety and depression...

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