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March 2011



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Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: Mar 29th 2011

There is a tendency to associate Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa with adolescent and young adult women. When we come across adults with these eating disorders the presumption is that it began during their teens. While this was true at one time, things have changed rapidly in today’s world. More and more, anorexia and bulimia are beginning during the late thirties, forties and even the sixties. Its accompanied by all the same health hazards as those experienced by younger women. By the way, I am focusing on women because they are the predominant group with these disorders. However, it does afflict a certain number of men. Those statistics you will have to search for elsewhere.

Why would women, ranging in age from their forties to their sixties, suddenly become anorectic or bulimic? It seems counter intuitive that people who are mothers, are aware of the dangers of these disorders, and probably disapproved of their own daughters when they were dieting, allow this to happen to themselves. Yet, hospital emergency rooms and eating disorders centers are seeing increasing numbers of these women and in alarmingly bad physical condition.

Its important to know that this can happen to anyone. What are some of the warning signs to watch out for with regard to yourself and to family and friends?

1. One of the clear signs of danger is the quote, “I want to eat healthy.” People are sincere in wanting to improve their eating habits and thereby achieve greater health. However, included in the comment are intentions to lose weight. There is nothing inherently wrong about wanting to lose weight, especially in light of the fact that many of us gain weight as we age. However, this is what becomes a “slippery slope.” What begins as a diet to lose a few pounds easily slips into a major eating disorder.

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