Eating Disorders Can Follow You to Adulthood
Eating disorders that begin in a person’s youth can carry over to adulthood, researchers are finding. According to HealthDay News, what is typically thought of as the problems of young women is increasingly affecting men and women across the age spectrum.
In fact, a stunning 42 percent increase in middle-aged females seeking help for problems relating to eating disorders has been observed at the Renfrew Center—which operates clinics in the United States—since 2001.
Echoing this trend, a recent study from the University of Minnesota showed that more than half of girls with unhealthy eating patterns developed in adolescence would continue to suffer from their issues into mid- to late 20s.
Texas eating disorder specialist Ed Tyson said that unhealthy relationships with food can resurface in adulthood when called up by stress and other personal problems.
“Some had actual eating disorders [in their youth]. Others had aspects of an eating disorder but were never fully treated,” Tyson explained. “Then something happens later in life that stresses them to appoint where the eating disorder becomes engaged.”
And that can be even more dangerous in adulthood, he said. Eating disorders in middle-age can lead to osteoporosis, chemical imbalances and other health issues more likely to affect people after they’ve left their youth.
“Older bodies do not have the plasticity that younger bodies do,” Tyson said. “They can’t tolerate the stresses and risks.”
Having an eating disorder also makes a person’s children about 12 to 15 times more likely to develop a problem with eating as well, HealthDay said.
“They need to do the work and get better, or their children could be at risk,” warned Tyson.