November 21, 2013 by Nancy Albus LPC NCC CEDS in Eating Disorder Treatment Eating disorders do not discriminate by age, they know no boundaries, and it is important that we continue to create public awareness about this fact. There are many middle aged women who are afraid to seek treatment because they don't feel they fit society's view of the typical eating disorder patient.
Women in their 50s experience many complex life changes. They often experience a loss of identity during their children's individuation from the family and their growing maturity during the maturation process. Women suffer feelings of loss and grief when their children are no longer the primary function of their identity. Middle-aged women also experience physical changes, especially during the pre-menopause and menopause phase, often experiencing metabolism shifts and body image changes.
The result is that many women in their 50s and 60s feel unhappy with themselves and their lives, and struggle to define who they are. Many try to gain control by bingeing or dieting and over exercising which can lead to the development of an eating disorder. Women who have struggled in the past with an eating disorder can experience a retriggering of eating disorder symptoms as they approach middle age due to these life changes and stressors.
Early intervention is the key for these women to find an avenue to discuss the physical and emotional changes and work through the identity conflict in they are experiencing. Even when no symptoms are evident, using therapy as a mechanism and a process to discuss these life changes can be a powerful tool to prevent the occurrence or onset of eating disorder behaviors.
Castlewood offers effective treatment for middle-aged women. All of our treatment programs are client-oriented, so that we meet each individual's needs, and address the underlying issues. A 50-year-old woman will have different needs than a 16-year-old girl, and our programs are tailored to the individual needs of the client. We also have a network of women who have successfully recovered from an eating disorder that are willing to speak about their experience and the healing they found at Castlewood they are willing to reach out to others who are considering treatment in hopes of encouraging others to seek to help. Castlewood helps individuals of all ages overcome eating disorders and get back to living a full, healthy life.