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Bulimia: Older women falling prey to image trap now

Oct 05, 2007 11:44 AM IST India India

New Delhi: The typical image of someone with a body image disorder is of an adolescent girl. But can older women suffer from this disorder too?

The answer is yes. More and more women in their 30s and 40s have begun obsessing about how they look.

“The women want to stay fit to feel good, but this could sometimes become an obsession,” says Lifestyle Management Expert, Dr Rachna Singh.

A huge fall-out of having an image disorder is a higher risk of developing an eating disorder, which can lead to additional problems in older women.

“One gets into a vicious cycle where she tries really hard but the metabolism is not on her side. Therefore she will have no choice but to start obsessing about her weight and a lot of other diseases and disorders develop after that,” says Dr Singh.

Unlike adolescents, the problem is not so easily identified in older women.

One reason is such cases are usually borderline. For example, a woman may have symptoms of anorexia but weigh in the normal range, or they may purge by vomiting or abuse laxatives, but not binge-eat, as in bulimia.

But what is it that triggers off these disorders in women?

There could be deeper reasons than these. The reasons being inability to cope with childhood trauma or abuse, a fear of rejection in relationships, issues of low self-esteem and the need to fit in.

So what is the way out of this dilemma?

“We can put them under therapy, medication and reverse the obsession back,” says Dr Singh.

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