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Can Adults Develop Eating Disorders?

Can Adults Develop Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders can form at any age, although, most often, the diseases are discussed when connected to teenagers or young adults. However, midlife and older adults are self-conscious of their bodies, and they can face body image dysmorphia. Adults can develop eating disorders, especially since social media makes it easy to compare body figures and highlight flaws. Many health risks are involved if a person begins restricting food, like hormone disruption and heart problems. It is essential to be aware of your physical alterations and realize those nutrient deficiencies are not worth the consequences.

How Do Eating Disorders Start?

Eating disorders are not exclusive to young adults or teenagers. Developing an eating disorder later in life can cause serious health problems. Body image issues are the root cause of adult eating disorders. With age typically comes weight gain, and many men and women fear increased body fat and appearing overweight. In addition, with age, the skin begins to lose firmness, and the metabolism decreases, so body image does become a concern for older men and women.

Adults can develop eating disorders. Causes include:

  • Lack of enthusiasm for life
  • Attempts to get attention from loved ones or social circles
  • Depressed due to old age
  • When a child leaves home or parent’s have empty nest syndrome
  • Caring for aging parents or loss of a parent
  • High levels of stress
  • Feeling unattractive or losing a partner

If a person is rapidly gaining or losing weight, then there is potential for health risks. Eating disorder support is advised so that people can educate themselves and know they are not alone. You are never too young or old to try new things or aim to achieve new goals. It is important not to let eating disorders get in the way of living your best life.

Eating Disorder Effects

The older you get, the more risks are involved with eating disorders, especially if a person has been battling with a disorder for a long period of time. Mature track programs and group therapy are helpful ways to recover when facing eating disorder control. There are a wide range of health issues that will happen if a person does not seek help.

Some side effects of eating disorders in adults include:

  • Anemia
  • Osteoporosis
  • Kidney issues
  • Cognitive problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased risk of high blood pressure
  • Heart problems such as heart disease and heart failure

Anorexia in Older Women

Perimenopause is menopause and is the time in a woman’s life when the menstrual period stops and high levels of estrogen are no longer being created. A significant change in hormone levels causes a woman to lose appetite or crave particular foods. Increased anxiety can also lead to binge eating or stress eating. Women tend to fall into three categories which are those who have struggled with eating disorders for years, those who faced a disorder as a teen, or those who developed a disorder for the first time.

Many older women, especially those above forty, will become obsessed with losing weight. Eating disorders can be genetically passed down through the family line. Additionally, when a woman compares herself to others as she ages, whether from a competitive mindset or fear of gaining weight, anorexia becomes a problem. A change in mood, declining social outings, and repetitive trips to the bathroom are signs of adult anorexia.

Receive Help at Banyan Treatment Center Philadelphia

At Banyan Philadelphia, our highly experienced medical staff will work with you to design the best treatment plan that will help you throughout the recovery process. We offer anorexia nervosa treatment as well as binge eating disorder treatment. We understand that past trauma and social pressure can cause a person to overthink their appearance or cause negative thoughts. You are not alone, and if you or a loved one is struggling with an eating disorder, we are here for you!


Contact Banyan Philadelphia today at 888-280-4763 and ask about our intensive outpatient program to get started!


Related Reading:

Bulimia Face: The Physical Effects of Bulimia Nervosa

How To Recover From Binge Eating Disorder

Are Eating Disorders Genetic?

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
Can Adults Develop Eating Disorders?
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