Eating Disorders: Who Gets Them?

A person with an eating disorderMany people think that only teenage girls and young women could develop eating disorders. While it is true that such conditions are more common in younger females, they can still occur in both men and women of any age. Research suggests the girls and women have a higher risk of developing an eating disorder than boys or men.

Treatment centers of eating disorders note that individuals of any age can develop an eating disorder, but some of those conditions are more common in certain age groups. Some suffer or deal with the disorder for years before it is diagnosed or addressed. This is why some adults (in the middle or late middle age) request for treatment of their eating disorder that has started many years ago.

Anorexia nervosa

This eating disorder is characterized by being overly concerned with weight and body shape. Many of those with this disorder restrict their eating and exercise excessively. Anorexia can occur at any age, but it usually starts between 15 and 19 years. Statistics suggest that about 1% of female adolescents have this type of eating disorder.

Bulimia nervosa

People with this condition compensate for their eating habits by controlling their weight using purging or excessive exercising. They are also distressed with their body shape and appearance. Bulimia begins in the late teens or early adult years, with about 2% of females and 0.5% of males experiencing the condition during their life.

Binge eating disorder

Those with this disorder engage in binge or compulsive eating and feel as if they cannot control the habit. Most individuals with this condition may depend on food to hide their feelings or feel better. This usually starts in late teenage or young adult years. Those in middle age more likely to have binge eating disorder than other types of eating disorder.

It’s important to learn the signs and symptoms of eating disorders to get the right treatment. This is to avoid serious medical problems in the long run. Talking to a general practitioner, a friend, or a family member is beneficial.