In most people’s minds, “eating disorder” conjures images of a thin, white, upper-middle-class teenage girl. The eating disorder landscape has changed. Countless men and women in midlife and beyond, from all ethnic backgrounds, also struggle with anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, purging disorder, and binge eating disorder. Some people have suffered since youth; others relapsed in midlife, often after a stressor such as infidelity, divorce, death of a loved one, menopause, or retirement. Still others experience eating disorder symptoms for the first time in midlife.
Primary care physicians, ob-gyns, and other practitioners may overlook these disorders in adults or, even worse, demean them for not having outgrown these adolescent problems. Treatments for adults must acknowledge and address the unique challenges faced by those middle-aged or older. Midlife Eating Disorders—a landmark book—guides adults in understanding “Why me?” and “Why now?” It shows a connection between the rise in midlife eating disorders and certain industries that foster discontent with the natural aging process. It also gives readers renewed hope by explaining how to overcome symptoms and access resources and support. Dr. Bulik also helps partners and family members develop compassion for those who suffer from eating disorders—and helps health professionals appreciate the nuances associated with detecting and treating midlife eating disorders.