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There’s Help. There’s Hope! The Emily Program is a warm and welcoming place where individuals and their families can find comprehensive treatment for eating disorders and related issues. This blog is a place for us to share the latest happenings at The Emily Program, as well as helpful tidbits from the broader eating disorder community. Subscribe via RSS to receive automatic updates. We want to hear your story. Email us (blog@emilyprogram.com) and ask how you can become a contributor!

Eating Disorders in Older Adults

Woman standing on a bridge

There are many stereotypes that feed into society’s perception of the type of people afflicted by eating disorders. If we could, those of us at The Emily Program would scream it from the rooftops: Eating disorders do not discriminate! A person’s sex, race, age, socioeconomic status, and culture don’t matter when it comes to disordered thinking about food! In this post, we focus on age and the similarities and differences of eating disorders in older adults compared to young and middle-aged adults. We will also cover the importance of seeking help, no matter a person’s life stage.

Setting the record straight on eating disorders and age

Many people think eating disorders only affect young or middle-aged adults and that beyond those years, the disorders disappear. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Eating disorders do primarily affect younger populations, and they often manifest in younger adults. According to the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R), it is true that eating disorders appear in early adulthood: the median age of onset for bulimia and anorexia is 18, while the median age of onset for Binge Eating Disorder (BED) is 21. However, if one of those eating disorders—or any disordered eating—goes untreated early on, that simply means that those with the eating disorder will likely continue to suffer into late adulthood. In other words, if an older adult is suffering from an eating disorder, that person has been plagued with the symptoms for decades. Adding to that heartbreak, because these adults have suffered for so long, it’s less likely that they will seek help during their golden years.

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Five Ways to Beat the Binge/Purge Urge

thoughtful woman

For those struggling with bulimia, the desire to binge and purge can be overwhelming. If you are struck with the urge to binge and purge, stay strong and look for ways to cope that don’t involve eating disorder behaviors.

Take time

Clinical evidence shows the longer you can separate the action of purging from the impulse to do so, the more likely it is that the urge will lessen. By taking a break and engaging in a mindful activity for 5-10 minutes, you can work to ease the intensity of your feelings. You could do laundry, go for a relaxing walk, work in the garden, take a long shower, or any other activity that provides a distraction.

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Make Peace With You – A Live Podcast with Jessie Diggins and Jana Shortal

Jana Jessie and Jillian onstage at the live podcast

We had a fantastic time at The Emily Program’s first live podcast event, Make Peace With You! Our discussion covered topics of perfectionism, social media, and eating disorder recovery.

jessie laughing at autograph table

jessie, jillian, jana

crowd at autograph table

signing

Episode description:

Make Peace with You is a special live episode of Peace Meal focused on stories of embracing individuality and practicing self-acceptance. On November 2nd, host Dr. Jillian Lampert talked with Olympian Jessie Diggins and journalist Jana Shortal about how they learned to come to terms with body image issues and other challenges. 

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Surfacing from an Eating Disorder’s Depths

surface of water

This is one person’s story; everyone will have unique experiences on their own path to recovery and beyond. Some stories may mention eating disorder thoughts, behaviors or symptom use. Please use your own discretion. And speak with your therapist when needed.

Lisa Whalen, a former Emily Program client, teaches writing and literature at North Hennepin Community College in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota. Her writing has appeared in a variety of literary journals and edited collections, including An Introvert in an Extrovert World, The Simpsons in the Classroom, Adanna, and Writing on the Edge. She is currently submitting her book, Taking the Reins: A Memoir of Hunger, Horses, and Hope, for publication. Learn more on her website, or follow her @LisaIrishWhalen on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

My computer’s cursor hovered over an icon labeled “publish.” One tap of my finger on the mouse would broadcast a secret I’d kept for years. Would I follow through this time?

My finger had frozen a few times prior to that afternoon in July 2018, when fear prevented me from initiating the click that would make my website go live. During the preceding weeks I had enjoyed the challenge of learning new software and the creativity of designing a website to help launch my writing career. Maybe I had enjoyed it too much. Once the site’s content was set, I kept playing with layout and links, feeling free to experiment as long as the site remained offline.

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When Two Worlds Collide: The Dangerous Intersection of Diabetes and Eating Disorders

Bowl of fruit and blood sugar monitor

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 22 million individuals are living with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. These individuals are also at significantly higher risk for eating disorders. When this dual diagnosis exists, treatment and recovery are often complicated by the complexity and conflicting demands of the two conditions.

Although the approach to treatment can vary among those with Type 1 (DMT1), Type 2 (DMT2) and latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA), it is important to be aware of the increased risk these individuals carry for disordered eating and eating disorders. It is estimated that the risk for ED behaviors is three times higher in individuals with DMT1 (1) and that up to 40% of individuals with DMT2 are affected by ED behaviors (2). There are numerous factors that increase the risk for disordered eating for those with diabetes. Several common challenges include:

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Staff Spotlight, Sarah Hodder

Staff Spotlight: Sarah Hodder

TEP: Tell us about yourself!

Sarah: Hi, I’m Sarah! I was born and raised in Minnesota and currently live in the Twin Cities with my husband David and two dogs, Jones and Fiona, who are the sweetest pups in the Midwest (according to me). I graduated from the University of Wisconsin – River Falls with my Bachelor’s degree in Visual Arts and though I still hold art very near and dear to my heart, I have found a TON of joy in working with people in my Human Resources roles. When I’m not recruiting awesome candidates for The Emily Program, I enjoy camping, hiking, gardening, browsing Reddit on my phone, and of course, binge-watching shows on Netflix.

TEP: What’s the one thing you want people to know about The Emily Program?

Sarah: Working for The Emily Program has been such an eye-opening experience–the amount of knowledge, passion, and empathy that our staff possesses amazes me daily! Though I don’t work directly with clients, I feel they are in the best hands through their journey knowing what I know about the people that work here. The TEP staff are my heroes!

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