Eating Disorders and Aging

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Anorexia, bulimia and bingeing are not only an issue with younger women, it can carry through with aging.

There are several conditions identified as eating disorders. Most of us have known and cared about someone suffering from eating disorders. We may not have known that they are sufferers, but it is common enough that almost all of us have encountered it. The main labels, anorexia and bulimia are words that we know.

In this week’s podcast we will review some of the information and identifiers that cause us to know someone has these disorders. We will speak to the differences between them and we will talk about a more common disorder, ENDOS. This is a reference to Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified. Eating disorders can be life threatening, they also cause other major health issues even when they are not life threatening. There is no single cause of an eating disorder, there are many thoughts about why or how someone develops one and there are various treatments that range from hospitalization, medication, supervision, and psychotherapy.

Some of these disorders involve an obsessive focus on food, calories, exercise, and weight. Anorexia almost always involves body image distortions. In order to control themselves in an effort to satisfy whatever weight/image issues they have, sufferers often abuse laxatives, they count calories obsessively and excessively, they will often make themselves cook very elaborate meals for others and then not eat anything themselves. They will often put an amount of food on their plates and then just spend time moving it around on their plate as they seem to be eating. But if you watch them closely you will see that they are not consuming. Sometimes they spend dangerous and obsessive amounts of time exercising, often secretly at night even when they are in the hospital. It is not uncommon for them to have dental issues from excessive vomiting. They can force themselves to vomit, until they learn how to vomit on desire and then they lose control and have to vomit after they ingest foods.

This is a very emotionally difficult issue for sufferers and their families and for their treatment professionals. It is hard to understand to work with and to successfully treat. Sometimes death is the end result.

Because it is so pervasive in our culture you need to have some information about eating disorders. Watch this week’s podcast to learn about them.

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